Collaborative Learning Experience

Collaborative Learning Experience 

The Collaborative Learning Experience (CLE) Projects follow a participatory model that emphasizes students working together to complete projects no single partner could achieve independently.  The typical group size is two (2) and no more than five (5) collaborators.  Projects typically involve traditional research, creative projects, or community-based learning with permission and assistance from a faculty member. 

Crafted during the second year advising module under the guidance of a faculty member, these courses are interdisciplinary, problem-based, and interactive, led by faculty who specialize in the course’s focus, and result in the oral defense of the project during the third year. The projects are designed to move beyond traditional classroom courses and teaching methods and to encourage innovative, experiential learning.  The subject matter of these experiences should transcend the traditional "how do we get this done?" by focusing on  "what is most worth doing?"

There are several unique aspects that define the CLE experience:

  • Learning takes place within the contexts of authentic tasks, issues, and problems--that are aligned with real-world concerns.
  • Students and the instructor become co-learners, co-planners, co-producers, and co-evaluators as they design, implement, and define the learning experience.
  • Students take responsibility for their own learning, since there are few lectures and no structured sequence of assigned readings.


The increasing complexity, interdisciplinary, as well as the open, collegial nature of much modern research and creative pursuit encourages us to provide educational opportunities that are cooperative and collaborative.  The team-oriented nature of such scholarship ensures that students with different perspectives and complementary skills contribute to, and benefit from, the experience through mastery of scientific, technical, and craft expertise, as well as the development of social and leadership skills necessary to work collaboratively toward a common goal.