Designing Outdoor Education Units for the Block
In 2018, Victoria University in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia implemented the VU Block Model® for the teaching of undergraduate degree programs. This was a radical shift from a traditional 12-week semester approach and required a complete overhaul of how outdoor education units would be taught moving forward. However, there is a lack of literature on the block mode delivery for outdoor education. The aim of this discussion paper is to identify the challenges of designing and delivering outdoor education in an intensive block mode. To explore this issue, the paper examines unit design and delivery practices undertaken in outdoor education curricula at an Australian university. A reflective practitioner case study research method was applied, with two units being evaluated. This approach was adopted due to the broad range of variables influencing program delivery and student engagement. The discussion is formed around the three years of experience that the authors have in designing, delivering, and reviewing the two units. The outcomes, observations and feedback presented in the discussion suggest that this process has improved the quality of teaching and learning and the student experience. Findings provide practical solutions for delivering and assessing tertiary curriculum outcomes consistent with a nationally recognised framework.
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