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Applied Learning At SUNY Cortland

Applied learning refers to a variety of teaching/learning strategies that encourage students to generate their own experience-based lessons, often through guided reflection.

Applied learning is different from "volunteering" in that it involves a way for students to use their knowledge and skills on a civic engagement or professional project and to learn about an academic subject or a social justice issue.  Students often also learn about themselves - their career interests, their preconceptions, and their abilities.

In applied learning courses and projects, students use knowledge and skills from current and/or previous academic courses in professional settings or in civic engagement settings.

SUNY provides resources for applied learning, including criteria for quality applied learning projects, including the requirement that they be "authentic," real-life experiences that involve structured reflection.

Kinds of SUNY-approved applied learning strategies include

  • Clinical placement
  • Internships
  • Creative work
  • Practicum
  • Community Service
  • Research
  • Entrepreneurship program
  • Service-learning
  • Field study
  • Travel, domestic or international

SUNY Cortland offers almost 200 applied-learning courses. You can search for applied learning courses at the Student Registration and Record Services' webpage by entering "AL" in the "Attribute/General Education" field.

Examples include

  • Exercise Prescription (EXS 432) students applied exercise science skills to help people address conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, obesity, metabolic syndrome, pulmonary disorders, or neuromuscular disease. Students evaluated clients and prescribe individual exercise and fitness programs.
  • A student conducted research with her Biological Sciences Professor Christa Chatfield on ways of using one kind of bacterium to attack another kind of bacterium that destroys oysters from New York to Maine.  The student said that she thrives when she uses her skills outside of the classroom.
  • In a Psychology research project with Professor Leslie Eaton, a student learned how to use technology to read brain waves to tel when a person is opening or closing their eyes.  The student said that "this project helped me realize that this is the kind of work that I want to do everyday."  The student researcher was preparing for a career in helping individuals with traumatic brain injuries.
  • Students in a service-learning English Composition course collaborated with the mayor of the City of Cortland on identifying challenges that the city faces, and on proposing solutions to those challenges. Students applied skills dealing with audience analysis, active listening, creative thinking, collaboration, and public presentation.

Applied Learning Courses are in departments such as

  • Administration of Recreation
  • Business Writing
  • Community Health
  • Camp Leadership
  • Critical Media Literacy
  • Dance and Individuals with Disabilities
  • Field TV Production
  • Intermediate Computer Applications
  • Introduction to Inclusive Outdoor Activities
  • Introduction to New Media
  • Introduction to Urban Education
  • Perspective on Disabilities: Children, Families, and Communities
  • Prisons and Punishment
  • Strategic Management
  • Teaching Reading in the Second Language Classroom