Students report high satisfaction with courses that provide direct relevance to their future careers and real-world applications. While some approximation of these applications can occur through simulation, role-play, and scenarios discussed during regular class meetings, an even higher level of engagement and learning often occurs if the students participate in higher-impact experiences that take place outside the traditional walls of the classroom, and outside of regular class meeting times.
Experiential Learning encompasses many different kinds of activities and methodologies. One of the best known is Service Learning, which combines traditional classroom study with unpaid work performed in the field (usually for a charity). For maximum impact, the service work should relate directly to the material being studied in the classroom, as it "makes real" the concepts and facts in a novel fashion. This guide from the California Campus Compact offers faculty a comprehensive overview and practical resources.
Internships and externships similarly provide an authentic experience that, if well chosen, will provide students with a renewed motivation to study the material and a novel perspective from which to view the concepts and facts. Students working through such projects are rarely disengaged.
To start a service learning, internship, or experiential project at USF, contact the Office of Community Engagement and Partnerships: http://www.usf.edu/engagement
Best Practices from YouTube
The following YouTube videos contain some valuable, practical wisdom related to service-learning: