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Education Higher

Out There Learning

Critical Reflections on Off-Campus Study Programs

edited by Deborah Louise Curran, Cameron Owens, Helga Thorson & Elizabeth Vibert

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Jan 2019
Higher, Geography, General, General
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Universities across North America and beyond are experiencing growing demand for off-campus, experiential learning. Exploring the foundations of what it means to learn "out there," Out There Learning is an informed, critical investigation of the pedagogical philosophies and practices involved in short-term, off-campus programs or field courses. Bringing together contributors’ individual research and experience teaching or administering off-campus study programs, Out There Learning examines and challenges common assumptions about pedagogy, place, and personal transformation, while also providing experience-based insights and advice for getting the most out of faculty-led field courses.


Divided into three sections that investigate aspects of pedagogy, ethics of place, and course and program assessment, this collection offers "voices from the field" highlighting the experiences of faculty members, students, teaching assistants, and community members engaged in every aspect of an off-campus study programs. Several chapters examine study programs in the traditional territories of Indigenous communities and in the Global South. Containing an appendix highlighting some examples of off-campus study programs, Out There Learning offers new pathways for faculty, staff, and college and university administrators interested in enriching the experience of non-traditional avenues of study.

About the authors

Deborah Curran is associate professor in the Faculty of Law and School of Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria.

Deborah Louise Curran's profile page

Cameron Owens is associate teaching professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Victoria.

Cameron Owens' profile page

Helga Thorson is an associate professor in the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies at the University of Victoria, Canada. Her teaching and research interests include Holocaust studies, memory studies, early twentieth-century German and Austrian literature and culture, Scandinavian studies, digital humanities, and gender studies. Helga lives in Victoria.

Helga Thorson's profile page

Elizabeth Vibert is an Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of Victoria. She is the author of Traders' Tales: Narratives of Cultural Encounters in the Columbia Plateau, 1807-1846 (University of Oklahoma Press, 2000).

Elizabeth Vibert's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Out There Learning poses fundamental questions about the nature of education in the twenty-first century, especially at a time in which the virtual has brought new challenges and possibilities to the fore. The editors and authors invite us to ponder on the rationale and consequences of field schools on peoples and places and to be aware of the potential for perpetuating neoliberal arrangements that have permeated higher education, bringing a slew of ethical questions about motivations, methods, and implications."

<em>Europe Now Journal</em>, April 2020

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