Counting Cars: A Sustainable Development Experiential Learning Project

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This manuscript outlines an experiential learning technique in which students integrate a beyond-the-classroom experience with the theories learned in the classroom in an Economics of Sustainable Development course. The project engages students in a hands-on economic research experience involving collecting, analyzing, and presenting data. Students get involved in an outside-the-classroom experience through counting cars. The project can also be conducted without the outside-the-classroom element. We provide suggestive evidence that supports the usage of structured experiential learning techniques in sustainability-based college-level courses by investigating student evaluations of teaching across two semesters. Findings show that the outside-the-classroom experience resulted in higher student evaluation of teaching, particularly in the Instructor Performance and Learning and Skill Development categories.

Chandini Sankaran and Tamara Sheldon