Education is more meaningful when you put it into practice. Explore our featured opportunities that incorporate exploration, critical reflection and hands-on learning.
ELN is working with faculty from across the university to develop courses and projects with exciting hands-on learning experiences. Check out this list of opportunities for the upcoming year and contact the professors to get involved or explore related possibilities!
During this course students will travel via public transportation in Buffalo to various areas of the city. During this time they will capture images of concepts that will be covered in the course. Students will then reflect on why they chose the picture and begin to scaffold knowledge of what they believe the concepts might be. After the topic is covered in the course, students will provide a video reflection on what they learned about the topic.
Contact Prof. Jessica Kruger for more information about this course.
In this course students will learn about environmental health as one of the core topics. After learning about this topic, students will travel to Love Canal, one of the top 10 environmental disasters that occurred in the United States. Love Canal is a neighborhood within Niagara Falls, NY and 40 years ago President Jimmy Carter declared it a national health emergency. Residents learned their homes and school were built on 22,000 tons of chemicals. Students will have a guided tour by an EPA representative and after the visit they will provide a reflection on the experience along with applying models and methods that public health professionals could use to protect the health of the population.
Contact Prof. Jessica Kruger for more information about this course.
RLL 496 is designed for students majoring or minoring in languages. The course will offer training in the basics of teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL), and students will tutor English language learners in the Buffalo immigrant community. This tutoring will serve practical needs, but the UB participants will also help their clients develop a personal narrative through which they share whatever they would like their new neighbors to know about them. The narrative might take a written verbal form, or look like a graphic novel, or be a video or an animation. It might tell a story about a faraway homeland, a memorable experience, or dreams for life in a new country. The class will culminate with group presentation of narratives and a celebratory dinner at West Side Bazaar.
Contact Prof. Maureen Jameson for more information about this course.
A message from Professor Ernest Sternberg on the new course and other opportunities for project-based learning:
In the School of Architecture and Planning, I sometimes teach in the Environmental Design program, in which students learn about the shaping of our urban built environments. Many eventually enter professions such as architecture, real estate development, historic preservation, and urban and regional planning. In these fields, a special mode of teaching is the “practicum” or “studio.” It means learning by actually carrying out studies on behalf of a community on how to solve local problems. Working on diverse topics, I discovered that I learned the most, and enjoyed myself the most, when I learned by doing, often in the company of persons with more experience than I had. Soon after arriving at UB in 1990, I was, luckily for me, assigned to teach a practicum. I found this was just the teaching I loved, partly because I felt stimulated by it, but more importantly because my students were more enthusiastic, more engaged.
Decades after such education, former students I meet say that they’ve forgotten many lecture courses, but remember their practicums. Sometimes it changed their lives. I am working on defining the topic and identifying a community for us to work with. It is sure to be an exciting and challenging learning experience for all of us. If you want to talk with me ahead of time, whether about my favorite topics in urban planning, or about the studio-practicum teaching that I enjoy so much, please come and see me! I like meeting students! If you’re shy, don’t worry. I’m probably even shier.
Contact Prof. Ernest Sternberg for more information about this upcoming course.
This course will soon become an experience that not only puts culture and the sciences in conversation but also provides students with hands-on learning. It will be co-taught by a scientist and a cultural critic and will combine writing and critical reading with other disciplinary experiences that include the social sciences, GEM, visual arts, biology and ecology.
Specifically, students will get to revisit principal debates within environmental studies surrounding key terms such as invasive species (are they all bad?); endangered species (is a focus on individual organisms helpful?); wilderness (is it out there?); bacteria (as “other” / within us); genes and DNA (a tool of power?) among others. They will explore the practical applications of each debate in the field and the laboratory, as well as via discussion of literary, cultural, and filmic texts. The course will develop real-world learning opportunities through fieldtrips to Niagara Falls; vernal pools on campus; Coalesce, the Bio-Art laboratory at UB; the Botanical Gardens; various cultural exhibits as well as a film screening. The goal is to allow students to develop a big picture perspective and make connections between what they are learning and the real world.
Contact Prof. Carine Mardorossian for more information about this upcoming course.
Aurangabad-Daulatabad, Bidar, Gulbarga, and Bijapur are four major historic centers of Islamic political power in the arid central Indian plateau known as the Deccan. The cosmopolitan character of these cities depended on the successful management of water resources. We will make the Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research in Pune (India’s seventh largest city) our base from which to explore the region and study the different hydraulic technologies that permitted these cities to flourish. These include bands (dams), baolis (stepwells), karez (horizontal underground conduits), Persian wheels, siphon towers, hammams (Turkish baths), gardens, and fountains whose ostentatious display of water resources inspired awe in governed populaces. Architectural historian Dr. Pushkar Sohoni will guide us in Maharashtra, demonstrating the connections between the control of water and political power in the built environment. We will explore the underground karez of Bidar with geologist Dr. Valliyil Govindankutty. In Bijapur, we will work with Mr. Ameenuddin Hullur, whose NGO is working to clean, repair, and publicize his city’s unique hydraulic infrastructure.
Contact Prof. Walter Hakala to get involved.
Support for this project is also provided by a generous donation to the UB Asian Studies Program by Dr. Vinod Rustgi and his family.
A message from Prof. Jody Kleinberg Biehl about the project:
I am curating an exhibit titled “Finding Refuge in Buffalo," which chronicles and compares the experiences of current refugees living in Buffalo with those of people who arrived from 1870 to mid-1900s.
I am excited to work with students who would like to help me with the reporting and recording of refugee stories as well as creating the exhibit for spring/summer 2019. The students will get to hear these peoples’ amazing stories as well as learn interview and recording techniques. Some can even help me create a film.
Contact Prof. Jody Kleinberg Biehl to get involved.
A message from Prof. Erica Goddard about the project:
In order to facilitate a deeper experiential understanding of the human experience, and to foster empathy for those who experience the world differently than the “norm,” I will be setting up a Human Library centered on psychological disorders and cognitive differences at the University at Buffalo. This library will follow the model of (and hopefully be affiliated with) the Human Library Organization and will feature both those who experience diagnosed disorders and differences as well as those who treat and study those differences. Human libraries allow for people to be the “books” and for library attendees to have meaningful, personal conversations with a book about their experiences and perspective on the world. The ultimate goal of a human library is to bridge the divide between individuals from different backgrounds and with different experiences to foster empathy, understanding, and a sense of shared humanity by providing a safe environment for conversations that cannot be had in other contexts within society. I hope that the library at UB will make the human experience come to life for students who may otherwise only learn about these differences on a page and give those students the opportunity to interact with a living case study who can make a more meaningful impact on their view of those who experience the world differently from themselves.
Contact Prof. Erica Goddard for more information or to get involved.
Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL). By taking a COIL course, you will be connected to global learning opportunities while studying right here at UB. Check out the list of current and upcoming COIL courses to learn more and enroll. Note that COIL courses allow you to work toward a Global Collaboration Digital Badge (see below)!
This course pushes students to examine how every action a journalist makes in gathering, organizing and presenting the news requires a value judgment. The course covers media credibility, steps in ethical decision-making, handling anonymous and unreliable sources, accuracy letters, conflict of interest and the difference between reporting and exploiting grief using the Society of Professional Journalists code of ethics as a model and guideline.
Students will spend four weeks of the semester collaborating on two joint assignments with South African media studies students. The assignments will focus on press freedom, the relationship between reporters and the government and the way the press handles controversy in both countries. They will also discuss President Donald Trump’s August tweets about South African land reforms and the ensuing press coverage. In July, Prof. Jody Kleinberg Biehl traveled to Durban, South Africa, to co-teach and prepare the media studies students for the collaboration during the semester.
Course numer: 18674
This project drops students into the center of a real-world business case – a young entrepreneur based in Colima, Mexico, is interested in exporting avocados to the United States, but is uncertain of whether doing so would be cost effective, and if so, what the best way to proceed would be. Students in Dr. Jesse Miller's class "Communication Literacy for Business" at UB will team up with students from Drs. Claudia Prado and Cintli Cardenas’s class “Economic System’s Integrative Workshop” at the University of Colima to collaboratively address this international agribusiness problem. They will be tasked with advising this entrepreneur on the best strategy for accomplishing this goal, exploring the topics of international business, communication, and culture in the process.
Learn about international law and the functions of it around the world through learning opportunities with students from other countries using online technology.
Course number: 24785
While completing a global collaboration experience is important, being able to talk about it in ways that are compelling and resonant is critical to your ultimate success. Our new Global Collaboration Digital Badge provides a facilitated framework for reflecting upon and leveraging your collaborative experience toward greater impacts and potential. Earn the badge and gain useful skills in just 4 steps!
Are you ready to reflect upon and share your global collaboration experience with other students and professionals here and around the world? Our new open-source digital journal provides an accessible space for students and partners to share research, stories and resources related to global collaboration and experiential learning. Submissions are now being accepted for the inaugural issue!
Whether you're interested in science or inspired by the humanities, all students can benefit from participating in mentored research. Find out how the Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Acitivies (CURCA) can connect you with research projects, funding and opportunities to present your work.
Have an idea for an experiential learning project or want to dive deeper into a topic of interest not listed above? Meet with ELN faculty and staff to explore offerings and opportunities!