Moving From Ideation to Prototyping: Developing a Learning-Centered Co-Curriculum

Moving From Ideation to Prototyping: Developing a Learning-Centered Co-Curriculum

Daniel A. Bureau, Monica Lee Miranda, Martha Glass, James P. Barber
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7768-4.ch013
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To implement an effective approach to design thinking in higher education, it is crucial to move from ideation to prototyping. In the context of the co-curriculum, there is a push toward enhancing how programs and services contribute to student learning. Many educators are working toward strengthening the culture so that learning becomes central to the work of staff. However, the right conditions must exist to anchor the changes so that student learning is not merely a byproduct, but rather is the primary outcome of student engagement in the co-curriculum. In this chapter, the authors address the conditions that help enhance the effective delivery of learning-focused, co-curricular experiences. Through examining eight different institutions, they arrived at six conditions that helped in developing sustainable learning-centered co-curricular programs and services in higher education.
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Earlier chapters in this book describe the application of design thinking as a change initiative that must be thoughtfully undertaken. Models of change (e.g. Kotter, 2012) address the barriers that must be confronted, particularly when creating buy-in so to anchor initiatives in the culture of an organization. Making change happen in co-curricular programs and services (often called student affairs, student services, student/campus life, or student success) can be tricky and comes with a variety of challenges based on institutional culture and context (Barr, McClellan, & Sandeen, 2014; Kinzie, Schuh, & Manning, 2013). As people apply design thinking strategies in the higher education context, it is important to consider what conditions are necessary to conceptualize, create and then successfully sustain the long-term success of that change.

This chapter explores the transition from ideation to prototyping when attempting to enhance the learning environment provided in programs and services. The questions guiding this chapter are (a) what practices were implemented to create a co-curriculum that is strongly aligned with the goal of student learning; and (b) what conditions were present that made the ideas endure once they were implemented? Through discussions with higher education, student affairs and student success professionals, we discovered effective examples of practices infusing and implementing learning-centered co-curricular programs. From these conversations, the authors identified six conditions that prompt the shift from ideation to prototyping, with an eye toward successful and long-standing implementation. In this chapter the authors showcase examples from eight different higher education institutions (See Table 1) and tie those examples back to literature and research. Each institution, with whom the authors connected through a network of colleagues and solicitation on the Student Affairs Assessment Leaders (SAAL) listserv, has demonstrated a commitment to student learning in the co-curriculum and have implemented and sustained these programs and services.

Table 1.
Characteristics of our exemplar institutions

Ideas To Prototyping: Effective Conditions

One aspect of student affairs work that is particularly challenging is the process of infusing learning into the programs and services that constitute the co-curriculum (Barber & Bureau, 2012; Schuh & Gansemer-Topf, 2010). Making sure those changes “stick” and move from a place of ideas to successful strategies is an important step that will involve many who work within co-curricular programs (Adams-Gaston & Kennedy-Phillips, 2015). Additionally, it is vital to align those outcomes to the classroom experiences of students (Barber, 2015; Barber, 2020; Schuh & Gansemer-Topf). No matter how difficult, emphasizing student learning in the co-curriculum is an expectation of today’s student affairs work. Barber and Bureau (2012) explained the evolution of student learning in the co-curriculum:

Key Terms in this Chapter

Student Learning: The outcome of students’ academic and co-curricular pursuits.

Learning Outcomes: A plan for learning results aligned with a particular program that assist with assessment of the program.

Culture: Atmosphere and environment created by faculty, staff, and students that demonstrates norms and values of an organization.

Collaboration: Any program, event, activity, or initiative created, developed, and implemented by more than one area or unit within the university.

Integrative Learning: The way in which students connect their learning in and outside of the classroom.

Co-Curriculum: Any university programs students attend or engage in outside of the classroom that may prompt additional learning opportunity, including, but not limited to, student activities, programs, student organizations, research, etc.

Curricular Approach: Utilizing an academic learning framework for all programs, events, or activities where learning outcomes are outlined and provided in advance to guide student learning in out of classroom activities.

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