Karl Marx’s revolutionary call, ‘Workers of the World Unite’, resonates with many in today’s society. This article describes and assesses an easily reproducible classroom activity that simulates both alienating, and perhaps more importantly, non-alienating states of production as described by Marx. This hands-on learning activity gives students the opportunity to experience and process these divergent states. In reflecting, students connect their classroom experience to societal forces surrounding wage labour. A quasi-experimental design implemented across eight sociology classes at two U.S. university campuses – one two-year and one four-year college – points to the effectiveness of the activity. Evidence suggests that students are better able to grasp Marx’s theory of alienation, retain the knowledge over time and apply it to their own lives with this experiential learning activity.
Megan Thiele, Yung-Yi Diana Pan and Devin Molina
The nature of capitalism in its neoliberal form is decreasing higher education’s exclusive domain of knowledge production by exposing students to and exploiting local knowledge production. This has created a paradox. Experiential learning is being supported as ‘academic’ because students learn skills, values and perspectives by engaging in communities of practice. Through community service learning and social justice oriented internships, students learn about emancipatory social movements while simultaneously providing their intellectual capital. Urban Semester Program students participate in the movement for affordable housing, with its origins in post-war Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where many Puerto Ricans settled. Engaged in a struggle against displacement, for self-determination and developing community sustainability by advocating and winning low and moderate income housing, residents are determined to remain in their neighbourhood. Students are engaged in this struggle and connect this exposure to their internships, and the globalising world economy, the role of the state, and corporate power.
Katie Kirakosian, Virginia McLaurin and Cary Speck
In this article, we discuss how adding a final film project to a revised ‘Culture through Film’ course led to deeper student learning and higher rates of student success, as well as increased student satisfaction. Ultimately, we urge social science educators to include experiential projects in their courses that connect to all learning styles. Such projects should also challenge students to ‘create’, a task that requires generating ideas, planning and ultimately producing something, which, according to Bloom’s revised taxonomy, engages students in the highest cognitive process (Anderson and Krathwohl 2000). Although this class focused on the intersections of culture and film and was taught at an American university, we believe these lessons apply more broadly.
Eva Infante Mora, Luisa Álvarez-Ossorio Piñero and Bartolomé Miranda Díaz
This section of the comprehensive account of the action research and pedagogical reform of the CASA-Sevilla study-abroad programme concerns the introduction of community-engaged learning as a way to complement classroom instruction. Some experiential elements were already part of the programme’s previous design (homestays, cultural visits), but they needed to be structured into the curriculum, with clear learning goals and evaluation criteria. In addition, to palliate the obstacles students experienced when trying to establish connections with the local society, service-learning in community organisations was introduced into the core ‘Beyond Stereotypes’ course. This section describes the strategies that were designed to encourage active learning in the homestays, the cultural visits and the participation in community organisations, and the role these elements play in the new programme.