Experiential Learning Casebook and Dialogues

The Experiential Learning Casebook and Dialogues offer SFU instructors the venues to share their experiences of using experiential learning approaches and to learn about the experiences of fellow instructors. It includes a series of peer dialogue events, and an online Casebook written by SFU instructors. Many SFU instructors who have participated in the dialogues have also written a chapter in the Experiential Learning Casebook.

The casebook and dialogues aim to:

  • Inspire the cross- and interdisciplinary transfer of good teaching practice
  • Situate experiential learning at SFU within the scholarship of teaching and learning
  • Showcase and celebrate experiential learning through public acknowledgement of instructors’ teaching practices

Dialogue sessions

These sessions have been convened around themes including large classrooms, community engagement, using dialogue in your classroom, education for sustainability, and community collaborations. They start with a few instructors sharing their experiences of teaching using experiential learning methods and include open discussion among participants. Dialogue participants learn about experiential learning and how it could enhance their teaching and their students’ learning.

The casebook

The Experiential Learning Casebook is a continually growing collection of examples of experiential learning at SFU, authored by SFU instructors and occasionally their students, and published online as an open access book. Each case includes a description of the teaching/learning methods and how they might be used in other courses and disciplines. Casebook authors are contributing to faculty peer development by sharing and showcasing their teaching practice within and outside SFU. Read a description of some of the chapters and what president Andrew Petter says about it.

Resources from past dialogue events

Learning Opportunities at Our Doorstep: Using Our Campus as a Living Lab >>

November 20, 2015; Co-sponsored by the Teaching and Learning Centre and SFU Health and Counselling Services

Related blog post: The Many Faces of Experiential Learning

Casebook chapter about HSCI 449 (Jenny Scott): Service Learning: An Opportunity for Personal and Professional Growth

Audio files from the dialogue:

HSCI 449 (Alisa Stanton and Jenny Scott) Go to the podcast >> (19 min)

EDUC 454 (Hélène Lalancette) Go to the podcast >> (13 min)

BUS 202 (Shauna Jones, Al Jones, Jessica Arnica and Junone Kang)
Go to the podcast >> (24 min)

Open discussion among all participants Go to the podcast >> (21 min)

Event description

A panel of SFU instructors will share their experiences of collaborating with campus partners to support student learning in Health Sciences, Education and Business courses.

  • Alisa Stanton and Jenny Scott will talk about how students in HSCI 449 Community and Health Service work collaboratively with SFU's Health and Counselling Services and a local school on projects that benefit student well-being.
  • Hélène Lalancette will share her experience of teaching EDUC 454 Quantitative Approaches to Environmental Education, working with the SFU Childcare Society and the Sustainable SFU Learning Garden.
  • Shauna Jones and Al Jones will discuss how the Beedie School of Business has teamed up with the SFU Bookstore to provide students with real business experience in BUS 202 Foundations for Collaborative Work Environments.

Experiential Learning and Sustainability: A Dialogue >>

February 4, 2015; Co-sponsored by the Teaching and Learning Centre and the Institute for Environmental Learning

Related blog post: A Dialogue on Experiential Learning and Sustainability

Blog post about ENSC/ENV 412 (George Chen, Ross Jamieson and John Jones): Student Teams Tackle Complex Environmental Problems in an Interdisciplinary Course

Audio files from the dialogue

Maureen Hindy, lecturer, School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering, describes her course, Law and Ethics and Professional Practice for Engineers, which includes sustainability principles and practices. She underscores the sustainability component of the Professional Engineers Code of Ethics and how her students learn and apply these concepts.
Go to the podcast >>
(12 min)

Mike Sjoerdsma, senior lecturer, School of Engineering Science, shares how his students use "cradle to cradle" design principles to analyze a real engineering product or process. He summarizes these principles and describes how his students apply them.
Go to the podcast >> (15 min)

David Zandvliet, associate professor, Faculty of Education, shares highlights from numerous courses that he has taught in environmental education using experiential learning approaches. He discusses how he hands over much of the responsibility for learning design to his students.
Go to the podcast >> (24 min)

John Jones, associate professor, School of Engineering Science, describes his experience of planning and teaching a multidisciplinary fourth-year course (ENSC/ENV 412 Technologies, Culture and a Sustainable World) that enrolls students from many disciplines. Jones is refreshingly frank about his fear of experimenting with collaborative learning groups in his classroom.
Go to the podcast >> (11 min)

George Cheng, graduate student, School of Engineering Science, discusses how, as president of SFU Engineers Without Borders, he approached the Dean of Applied Sciences to initiate a fourth-year course in sustainability technology. Cheng describes how he worked with two faculty members to design the course and subsequently acted as a teaching assistant during its first delivery in 2014.
Go to the podcast >> (19 min)

Above, from left: George Cheng, Ross Jamieson and John Jones delivered a multidisciplinary course on sustainable technology, ENV/ENSC 412.

Event description

The Teaching and Learning Centre is hosting a dialogue on how sustainability is taught and learned at SFU. Four SFU faculty members will start the session by sharing their experiences with various experiential approaches. Then all participants will have the opportunity to share and learn from one another. Come and hear stories and explore experiential learning and teaching practices.

  • John Jones, associate professor, School of Engineering Science, will discuss a multidisciplinary fourth-year course (Technologies, Culture and a Sustainable World) that enrolls students from many disciplines.
  • David Zandvliet, associate professor, Faculty of Education, will share some highlights from numerous courses that he has taught in environmental education using experiential learning approaches.
  • Mike Sjoerdsma, senior lecturer, School of Engineering Science and Maureen Hindy, lecturer, School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering, teach fourth-year courses in Engineering Law and Ethics in Engineering Science (Burnaby) and Mechatronic Systems Engineering (Surrey) respectively. They will describe how their students have used "cradle to cradle" design principles to analyze a real engineering product or process.

Food, Gardens, Experiential Education: Events Coinciding With Think•Eat•Save: The UNEP’s World Environment Day >>

June 5, 2013; Co-sponsored by the Teaching and Learning Centre, Sustainable SFU and the Institute for Environmental Learning

Related blog post: Gardens, Food and Experiential Education: Three Ways SFU Marked World Environment Day

Casebook chapter about BPK 110: Understanding Nutrition by Doing What Nutritionists Do

Event description

1.  Learning Garden Tour. Explore a new resource for campus-based learning with Sustainable SFU staff and students. See how campus groups, labs and classes are using this student-run facility.

2.  Talking About Learning About Food: A Dialogue. It will start with four contributors, three SFU instructors and a special guest, sharing their personal experiences of teaching using experiential methods.

  • Diana Bedoya (BPK 110): Students learn about diet analysis through a behaviour change project.
  • Eric Sannerud, a Udall Scholar and recent graduate from the University of Minnesota, will share highlights of a student-run undergraduate course focused on campus-based learning.

3.  Experiential Education Workshop. This workshop is for instructors and students who want to plan an experiential education opportunity. SFU’s David Zandvliet and the University of Minnesota’s Eric Sannerud will discuss the pedagogical approaches that underpin Environmental Learning and Sustainable Agriculture education. Graduates need to be capable of decision-making in our future complex world, and this requires an engaged approach to education. This workshop will empower students and challenge faculty to look at education as a dynamic space for student-driven learning and impactful experiences.

The University as a Living Lab: What Does it Take to Make it Work? >>

September 26, 2013; SFU Symposium on Teaching and Learning - Encore Series

Casebook chapter about EVSC 100, 205 and 491 (Tommy Rodengen): Free Time for Free Play in University Learning Environments

Event description

Using the campus as a living lab is an important form for experiential education as well as a means of supporting the University in achieving its teaching, research, community engagement and sustainability goals. The living lab model entails students, as part of their course work, engaging with "real world" research or problem-solving projects to create change on campus, or using teaching and research to create change in the community.

This session will explore how to prepare for and carry out a "living lab" course or learning activity with the greatest chance of success for all involved, including students, instructors and collaborators who might be SFU staff or people from the broader community.

  • Ted Kirkpatrick, associate professor of computing science, will speak about his two experiences with a Semester in Dialogue model, where one successfully involved stakeholders and the other did not.
  • Tommy Rodengen, instructor in Environmental Sciences, will discuss his course, which incorporates seven community and campus groups.
  • Elizabeth Starr, campus planner, and KC Bell, director, Office of Sustainability, will share their experiences of working with students on a variety of sustainability projects as part of the Change Lab course.

Experiential Education in Large Classes: A Dialogue >>

February 7, 2013; Co-sponsored by the Teaching and Learning Centre and the Experiential Education Project

Casebook chapter about CMPT 275 (Herbert Tsang): How Can Experiential Computing Learning Make a Positive Impact in the World?

Casebook chapter about EDUC 240 (Charles Bingham): Finding a Voice

Event description

Large classes can be challenging for the instructor who hopes to engage students in experiential activities. Three SFU instructors will share their experiences of teaching large classes using various experiential approaches. The session will be an open dialogue in which all participants have the opportunity to share and learn from one another.

  • Rochelle Tucker, HSCI 130: An introductory health studies course in which teams work in a field setting
  • Herbert Tsang, CMPT 275: How can computing make a positive impact on the world?
  • Charles Bingham, EDUC 240: Social issues course in which former students mentor current students through dialogue

How Can Your Classroom Change the City? Seeding Local Ideas for Impact >>

January 24, 2013; Co-sponsored by the Teaching and Learning Centre and the Experiential Education Project

Casebook chapter about BUS 444 (Lisa Papania): Forming Business Relationships to Learn About Forming Business Relationships

Casebook chapter about BUS 495 (Shawn Smith): Social Venture Accelerator

Event description

Have you wondered what CityStudio or the Semester in Dialogue classroom actually looks like? Curious about a classroom that empowers students to design socially responsible businesses? Then this day is for you. We will be hearing stories and unpacking all that is messy and rewarding about getting students to design and lead their education through implementation of projects in their community. Then we will witness a student-led conversation with the Semester in Dialogue class and special guest Moura Quayle.


  • Janet Moore: CityStudio/ Semester in Dialogue
  • Lisa Papania (BUS 444): New Product Development, Beedie School of Business
  • Shawn Smith: Social Entrepreneurship Incubator and Accelerator, Beedie School of Business

Engaged Scholarship: How is this Education for Sustainable Development? >>

May 16, 2012; SFU Symposium on Teaching and Learning

Event description

Three faculty members from three SFU Faculties will share their experiences of teaching with engaged scholarship as a central motivating principle. The panelists, from Geography, Chemistry and Business, will have a cross-disciplinary discussion considering both the commonalities and differences in their approaches. Each is committed to education for sustainable development and each has used engaged scholarship as the pedagogy to achieve this.

Education for sustainable development can be achieved using many approaches and is interpreted quite differently in various disciplines and subjects. The approaches include, for example, giving students considerable autonomy to build a course, using community-based projects as an opportunity to learn about how to influence local development decisions, and challenging students to embed sustainable innovation into business models. Through this discussion, participants will gain practical ideas and strategies for their own teaching, for planning their courses, and for developing scholarly relationships with their students. Join this enlightening conversation and consider how you could use engaged scholarship to foster education for sustainable development.

  • Mark Roseland, Centre for Sustainable Community Development, School of Resource and Environmental Management
  • Vance Williams, Department of Chemistry
  • Stephanie Bertels, Beedie School of Business
  • Moderator: Vivian Neal, Teaching and Learning Centre

For more information

Vivian Neal
Educational consultant
   vneal@sfu.ca
   778.782.7466

   Teaching and Learning Centre

Browse this section

This page was last modified on January 15, 2021 | The content is maintained by Vivian Neal. Send page-related comments to tlcentre@sfu.ca