While colleges and universities are good at creating outside opportunities for their students to learn—such as study-abroad programs, internships, and service learning—the core learning experience remains centered on courses taught in classrooms on campus.
“Many of our students are too bright and too entrepreneurial to be the recipients of the kind of education acquired in traditional lecture halls, laboratories, or even seminar rooms,” Steven Mintz, executive director of the Institute for Transformational Learning, University of Texas System, wrote in an Inside Higher Education column.
Mintz said a solution would be to organize undergraduate education into project-based learning experiences. For instance, the University of Texas at Dallas is merging computer science and engineering with creative arts and the humanities for a program that teaches technical skills while trying to provide an understanding of the impact that technology has on communications, culture, and commerce.
“They merge the innovation process of artists, scientists, and engineers and explore experimental models through new technologies,” Mintz noted. “Departments are transformed into innovation labs and students into innovators.”