Design School Values ‘Experience’ Over Classroom Learning

The University of North Texas design and communication programs encourage students to travel outside of the digital world.

The design and communications professors at the University of North Texas understand that a liberal arts degree is just as much about what you learn outside the classroom as what you learn in the classroom.

That’s why the design program there has started the ‘Experience Passport.’ The ‘Experience Passport’ is a work-book/pamphlet given to students each year, filled with activities to do outside the classroom to further their learning experience.

Students get a different book for each year of their studies, and part of their educational goal for that year might be visiting certain museums, watching Oscar nominated films made prior to 1945, and reading at least one Pulitzer prize-winning fiction novel. There are also more career-oriented tasks such as exchanging business cards with 5 professional designers, but the entire idea of the project is to expose students to life experiences in the physical world around them, rather than on their computer screens.

Students print out and bind the books themselves, as you might expect in a design program, and they can gain stamps for completing certain tasks, just like receiving stamps in your passport when traveling to a new country.

This is a very cool idea that could be integrated into more curriculums across the country. Experiencing the world, and in this case real-world design, can not only further the understanding of concepts taught in the classroom, but also help the students understand more about themselves as individuals.

Check out the gallery below of the concept:

 

University of North Texas

 

Images by Sara Weininger, via Brandeis University and the Alex Egner, via University of North Texas

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