Applied Learning (3.0)

Credit Language

AC 4: Applied Learning – Version 3.0

Questions & Answers

How has this credit changed between STARS Version 2 and Version 3?

Immersive experiences and living laboratory programs have been consolidated into a single credit. Criteria have been added to recognize assessment processes and established portals to document applied learning projects. A comprehensive list of differences can be found in the STARS 3.0 Summary of changes.

Do the projects claimed in this credit have to address all three dimensions of sustainability?

No, this is not a requirement. To count, a project must address sustainability challenges, which may or may not cover all three dimensions of sustainability.

Do projects have to take place on campus?

Projects may take place off-campus as well as on-campus. The minimum qualification is that the institution makes available solutions-focused applied learning or living laboratory experiences for students that address sustainability challenges.

What types of projects count for this credit?

The intent of this credit is to recognize substantive work that involves applied and experiential student learning and contributes to understanding or advancing sustainability. Examples include, but are not limited to, class projects, thesis projects, term papers, or published papers.

Can co-curricular activities such as student internship projects qualify under this credit?

Typical co-curricular activities are not sufficient to count under this credit. For example, work completed by student sustainability staff only qualifies if there is a clear curricular or learning component.

Suggestions for Institutions

  • Consider establishing and/or using tracking and assessment mechanisms for sustainability-focused immersive education and applied learning across the institution.

Potential Data Quality Issues

  • Provide sufficient information to justify each affirmative response provided, particularly for Yes responses under “Processes or tools in place to assess the success of the applied learning projects” and “Online portal or equivalent vehicle that documents applied learning projects”.
  • Applied learning projects must have a clear curricular or learning component. Supervised student internships, co-curricular activities and non-credit work may count only if there is a formal learning component that is outlined in the descriptive response (i.e., there are opportunities to document and assess what students are learning).

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