Outside-of-Class Learning Prompts Outside-the-Box Thinking: Professors Should Promote Extracurricular Experiences

by The Cowl Editor on November 15, 2018


Photo of Bat Boy with a shadow behind him.
Many students were required to go see Bat Boy: the Musical outside of class. Photo courtesy of Providence College TDF.

by Emily Ball ’22

Opinion Staff

Bland, boring, baffling—in-class lectures and PowerPoints tend to receive these reactions from college students. Typical 50 minute-long lectures can be tedious and tiring when you have information thrown at you for so long.

To address this issue, the Development of Western Civilization (DWC) professors have implemented an aspect of the class called Outside-of-Class Experiences (OCEs). 

As a part of their grade, students attend interesting lectures outside of class, watch performances, visit museums, or go to other events that pertain to the curriculum. Providence College offers a multitude of informative lectures about relevant topics as well as humanities forums for all students to attend.

“In our experience, students are frequently unaware of the large number of opportunities on campus for enrichment outside of class,” Dr. Vance Morgan said. “We consider attendance at such events to be an integral part of the college experience, so we wanted to help students form the habit of extending their education outside of the classroom early in their college careers.”

After attending the event, students write a one-page reflection paper explaining how the event or experience correlates to what they are learning in class, what they disagree with, and what important ideas or messages they took away from the experience.

OCEs are beneficial to the learning process as they open up opportunities for learning outside of the classroom that students often would not attend otherwise.

“I think OCEs are good for us as students because they force us to experience lectures and museums and other opportunities that we would not normally go to,” Grace Berning ’22 said.

Some students may argue that having the burden of completing OCEs is added stress because they have to attend these learning experiences in their free time; however, most lectures for OCEs only last about an hour, and all other opportunities depend on the time students dedicate towards them.

The flexibility of the OCEs is another positive aspect, as students are able to suggest any event or experience they want to use as an OCE and, with the approval from their professor, they have the opportunity to use it for their grade.

OCEs are beneficial because they are an easy and enjoyable way to increase students’ grades, as professors grade for completion and evidence that the students attended the event or lecture. “OCEs help because they are an easy boost to our grade,” Clinton Phinney ’22 said.

The College’s production of Bat Boy: The Musical counted as an OCE and allowed students to support their fellow classmates in the show while completing a portion of their grade.

“It meant so much to me to have so many people there to support me,” said  Alex Cannon ’22, an actor in Bat Boy: The Musical. “It is so much fun to perform knowing there are people out there in the audience for you.”

OCEs are a beneficial addition to any curriculum because they encourage students to take advantage of opportunities outside of class that will benefit them inside the classroom as well.