High Impact Practices

High-Impact Practices (HIPs) are active learning practices that promote deep learning by promoting student engagement. HIPs represent enriching educational opportunities that can be transformative to students. HIPs are not just activities embedded within student experiences. HIPs require intentionality and assessment of student learning. HIPs assess the achievement of deeper learning, have significant engagement gains with student and faculty involvement, and have an equitable and positive impact on a diverse student population.

Some examples of these experiences include:

First Year Seminar and Experiences

UNT builds first-year seminars and other experiences that brings small groups of students together with faculty or staff on a regular basis. The highest-quality first-year experiences place a strong emphasis on critical inquiry, frequent writing, information literacy, collaborative learning, and other skills that develop students’ intellectual and practical competencies. First-year seminars can also involve students with cutting-edge questions in scholarship and with faculty members’ own research.

Consider these marketable skills: Social Responsibility, Personal Responsibility, or Leadership

Common Intellectual Experiences (CORE)

The older idea of a “core” curriculum has evolved into a variety of modern forms, such as a set of required common courses or a vertically organized general education program that includes advanced integrative studies and/or required participation in a learning community. UNT combines broad themes—e.g., technology and society, global interdependence—with a variety of curricular and cocurricular options for students. When students complete their CORE requirements, they have been exposed to and assessed on valuable marketable skills!

Consider these marketable skills when completing the CORE: Critical Thinking, Teamwork, or Oral Communication

ePortfolio

ePortfolios are the latest addition to AAC&U’s list of high-impact educational practices, and UNT has developed a range of ways to implement them for teaching and learning, programmatic assessment, and career development. ePortfolios enable students to electronically collect their work over time, reflect upon their personal and academic growth, and then share selected items with others, such as professors, advisors, and potential employers. Because collection over time is a key element of the ePortfolio process, employing ePortfolios in collaboration with other high-impact practices provides opportunities for students to make connections between various educational experiences. 

Consider these marketable skills when using your ePortfolio: Written Communication, Empirical and Quantitative Skills, or Oral Communication

Service Learning

In these UNT programs, field-based “experiential learning” with community partners is an instructional strategy—and often a required part of the course. The idea is to give students direct experience with issues they are studying in their classes and with ongoing efforts to analyze and solve problems in the community. UNT values the opportunity students have to both apply what they are learning in real-world settings and reflect in a classroom setting on their service experiences. These programs model the idea that giving something back to the community is an important college outcome, and that working with community partners is good preparation for citizenship, work, and life.

Consider these marketable skills when engaged in service learning: Social Responsibility, Leadership, or Personal Responsibility

Learning Communities

The key goals for learning communities are to encourage integration of learning across courses and to involve students with “big questions” that matter beyond the classroom. Students take two or more linked courses as a group and work closely with one another and with their professors. Many learning communities explore a common topic and/or common readings through the lenses of different disciplines. Some deliberately link “liberal arts” and “professional courses”; others feature service learning.

Consider these marketable skills when active in a learning community: Teamwork, Critical Thinking, or Social Responsibility

Global Learning

UNT emphasizes courses and programs that help students explore cultures, life experiences, and worldviews different from their own. These studies—which may address US diversity, world cultures, or both—often explore “difficult differences” such as racial, ethnic, and gender inequality, or continuing struggles around the globe for human rights, freedom, and power. Frequently, intercultural studies are augmented by experiential learning in the community and/or by study abroad.

Consider these marketable skills when engaged in global learning: Social Responsibility, Personal Responsibility, or Oral Communication

Writing-Intensive Courses

These courses emphasize writing at all levels of instruction and across the curriculum, including final-year projects. Students are encouraged to produce and revise various forms of writing for different audiences in different disciplines. The effectiveness of this repeated practice “across the curriculum” has led to parallel efforts in such areas as quantitative reasoning, oral communication, information literacy, and, on some campuses, ethical inquiry.

Consider these marketable skills when participating in a writing intensive course: Written Communication, Empirical and Quantitative Skills, or Oral Communication

Undergraduate Research

UNT offers research experiences for students in all disciplines. Undergraduate research, however, has been most prominently used in science disciplines. With strong support from the National Science Foundation and the research community, scientists are reshaping their courses to connect key concepts and questions with students’ early and active involvement in systematic investigation and research. The goal is to involve students with actively contested questions, empirical observation, cutting-edge technologies, and the sense of excitement that comes from working to answer important questions.

Consider these marketable skills when conducting Undergraduate Research: Critical Thinking, Empirical and Quantitative Skills, or Written Communication  

 

Collaborative Assignments and Projects

Collaborative learning combines two key goals: learning to work and solve problems in the company of others and sharpening one’s own understanding by listening seriously to the insights of others, especially those with different backgrounds and life experiences. Approaches range from study groups within a course, to team-based assignments and writing, to cooperative projects and research.

Consider these marketable skills when participating in a Collaborative Assignment: Teamwork, Leadership, or Oral Communication

Capstone Course and Projects

Whether they’re called “senior capstones” or some other name, these culminating experiences require students nearing the end of their college years to create a project of some sort that integrates and applies what they’ve learned throughout their time in college to what it could mean for their future. The project might be a research paper, a performance, a portfolio of “best work,” or an exhibit of artwork. Capstones are offered both in departmental programs and, increasingly, in general education as well.

Consider these marketable skills when engaging in a Capstone: Written Communication, Critical Thinking, or Leadership

Internships

Internships are another increasingly common form of experiential learning, or the concept “learn by doing”. The idea is to provide students with direct experience in a work setting—usually related to their career interests—and to give them the benefit of supervision and coaching from professionals in the field. If the internship is taken for course credit, students complete a project or paper that is approved by a faculty member.

Consider these marketable skills when completing an internship: Teamwork, Leadership, or Critical Thinking