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Experiential Learning

About This Course 

In basic terms, experiential learning means learning by doing. CHS 280: Experiential Community Health and Research and CHS 484: Translational Team Research are designed to help students:

  1. Gain a deeper understanding of the challenges facing our populations to stay healthy.
  2. Build and expand on skills and concepts learned in their programs of study through practical application.
  3. Develop professionally.
  4. Become more socially embedded and make a difference in their communities.
  5. Gain experiences and real world perspectives in research, clinical, or community based settings.

While experiential learning courses have some traditional learning components, they are designed to be more hands on in nature. Students are expected to commit to and utilize the full 135-hour time commitment for three credits required by the Arizona Board of Regents for coursework, assignments, and experiences. Below are special topics available for this course.

CHS 280/484 Special Topic: Citizen Science

This topic allows students to take their learning out of the classroom in a tangible and impactful way. Students are able to hone science, research, and advocacy skills, through a hands on citizen science project that aims to improve the health of their respective communities. Students create health profiles of their community, conduct three to five weeks of observations and data collection within their downtown area, obtain two-year CITI Certifications, and advocate for change.

This course will require students to visit specific areas within their communities over the observation period, and is a great way to make an impact and shorten the distance between science and discovery. This course does not require preauthorization or special permissions.

Students can expect to spend on average, 3 - 5 weeks observing various health features in their downtown community in a 1+ square mile project area. Students will complete 2 - 5 observation visits per week for each week observations are assigned. Health features observed will be focused around:

  • Sun and heat exposure
  • Pedestrian safety and risk
  • Healthy/non-healthy food environments
  • Alcohol, tobacco, and other substance use/misuse
  • Community features that support/promote physical activity

Additional information

CHS 280/484 Special Topic: Translational Team Research

This topic embeds students into a CHS Translational Science Team for a semester. Translational Teams are interdisciplinary teams tackling specific health problems and aim to shorten the time between discovery and the development of community and clinical practices, while ultimately making improvements in population health. Students can assist the team in a variety of ways that can vary by semester, and range from data entry to working directly in the field with community partners. This course may have in-person and online options available, and students may be expected to attend Translational Team meetings where they will have the opportunity to engage with a variety of researchers, faculty, and staff.

To enroll in this course, students must apply for credit eligible opportunities in the Community Placements Database.

If selected, students receive approval to register for the course. New experiences are updated and posted throughout the year. Refer to the video on how to apply.

How many hours will I be required to spend on this course?

Total required experiential learning hours are based on enrolled credit hours. Students should expect to spend the full hour requirement for this course. To determine how many hours you can expect to spend per week, multiply 45 credit hours by the number of credits for your course, and divide the total by the number of weeks this course spans.

How to calculate your total expected hours

Enrolled course credits (1 - 3) x 45 work hours/credit = Total required hours

Total required hours / weeks course spans = Weekly required hours

Students should calculate their hours for the semester at the beginning of the course. Don't forget to consider the following:

  • Actual Start and End Date
  • Holidays
  • Vacations (any planned absences)
Course LengthAverage Time On Coursework Per Week For 3-Credit CourseTotal Time Requirement For 3-Credit Course
Fall Semester (15 weeks)9 hours / week135 hours
Spring Semester (15 weeks)9 hours / week135 hours
Summer semester (7.5 or 11 weeks)18 - 12.3 hours / week135 hours