We are inviting contributions to a special issue of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL) in the South journal, an online, open-access and peer-reviewed journal dedicated to fostering dialogue and research on teaching and learning in higher education in the global South, or about the global South. This issue will be devoted to the topic of Out-of-Classroom Learning: Revisiting Value and Impact.
When the Covid-19 pandemic struck, safe distancing measures were implemented at most, if not all, higher education institutions. As a result, out-of-classroom activities and interactions became non-existent or were moved online. Some were later conducted using a hybrid approach when the pandemic eased. Unlike out-of-classroom activities, attention was given to ensuring that formal lessons continued during the pandemic. This raises questions about the value proposition of out-of-classroom learning. In particular, what is the currency of out-of-classroom learning within the context of holistic student learning in higher education? We propose a few key areas to be interrogated in this special issue.
First, what the pandemic has surfaced more prominently is the issue of accessibility, mobility, and equality of opportunities to out-of-classroom learning. Here, we define out-of-classroom learning broadly to encompass activities students are involved in that are beyond the formal curriculum, yet are deemed critical to holistic development. Examples are student life, residential life experiences, co-curricular and co-academic activities, internships, and community engagement opportunities. These issues have implications on parity and access to learning. How did universities, especially those with limited resources, respond to such issues during the pandemic? What lessons might universities have learned from the pandemic that are valuable post-pandemic?
Second, we have seen rapid transformation in several industries in recent years. Some jobs have become redundant, and some highly valued competencies have become obsolete. In their place are demands for new skills, dispositions, literacies and competencies to match innovations motivated by fast-moving artificial intelligence technologies. For instance, more focus has now been placed on interdisciplinary knowledge, data and digital literacy competencies. Besides new skillsets and competencies, in the recent years, there is an increasing emphasis on the dispositions of resilience and mental wellness. In order to address these changes, learning in the classroom need to be complemented and supported by out-of-classroom learning that reinforces and strengthens these dispositions. It thus is timely to examine the context and nature of out-of-classroom activities that facilitate learning and complement in-class learning. How do transformations in the workplace impact out-of-classroom curricula and activities (and vice versa)? How can the significance of out-of-classroom learning be reflected in students’ record of accomplishments? Specifically, what value do employers place on or derive from such a transcript?
Third, central to discussion of out-of-classroom learning is what Lambert and Felten (2020) refer to as relationship-rich education, where students, student needs, and learning outcomes have a significant impact on student growth. How do out-of-classroom curricula and activities explore relationships in both formal and informal spaces: student-student, student-faculty, student-faculty-alumni/external stakeholders? What are the challenges encountered, the successful approaches that universities have implemented, and the insights gained in building these relationships?
Finally, on the point of impact, while students in higher education are encouraged to participate in out-of-classroom activities, research tracing the impact of involvement in out-of-classroom learning seems limited. How do we know the extent to which these initiatives, programmes and activities have been impactful? And whom do they benefit? Broadly, what are some measures and indicators of out-of-classroom learning impact and success?
In this special issue, we invite the submission of papers that interrogate the value propositions and impact of out-of-classroom learning in higher education, focusing particularly on issues in the global South. Please see our our website for a discussion of how we conceptualise the global South. Contributions may include articles based on empirical research, scholarly and thought-provoking conceptual papers, and reflections on the following areas:
- Reframing the value propositions and philosophies of out-of-classroom learning in higher education for the global South
- Redefining care in residential programmes: resilience, mental agility, emotional wellness
- Re-examining practices advocating culture of respect and consent, diversity and inclusion
- Re-thinking engagement and service in community engagement and service learning
- Relationships in student engagement: student partnership, alumni engagement
- Agency in out-of-classroom curricula: student voice, student advocacy
- Integrating formal and out-of-classroom curricula
- Peer-to-peer learning in out-of-classroom contexts
- Challenges and opportunities in implementing out-of-classroom curricula
- Measuring the impact/learning of out-of-classroom curricula and reflecting the learning achieved
Lambert, L.M., & Felten, P. (2020). Relationship-rich education: How human relations drive success
in college. John Hopkins University Press.
Full papers due: May 2024
Reviewer feedback returned: July 2024
Revised submissions due: September 2024
Reviewer feedback returned (if necessary): November 2024
Revised submissions due (if necessary): January 2024
Final acceptance of papers: February 2025
Date of publication: April 2025
Articles are freely accessible and there are no processing fees.
Should you be interested and in a position to submit an article for publication in the journal, please register as a user on the website and upload your article. Articles should be 5000-8000 words in length including references and endnotes. Further instructions can be found on our website – see instructions for authors.
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