Editorial: Practicum courses offer experience over credit

By Kelsey Kastrava
October 12, 2010

A distinctive quality of a Cabrini education is its emphasis on experiential learning. If you talk to friends at other colleges, you may find that at Cabrini we have many opportunities to learn from real-life experience and not just from books and lectures in the classroom.

Our ECG courses offer numerous opportunities to learn about real-life problems from experts in the field.

Real-life experiential learning is an important part of many majors like education, social work, science, communication and business.

Throughout our four years at Cabrini, we will enroll in the standard classes that are for three college credits. As we advance in college and in our major, we have the opportunity to take co-ops and many types of practicum and experiential learning opportunities. These learning opportunities demand much out-of-class work and offer less than three credits. But these real-life experiences are often the most valuable education we receive.

Education majors are required to complete a certain amount of hours to their field experience at designated schools in the area. Science majors must take a certain amount of lab courses that offer far less credit than a lecture course but demand a lot more work. Many social work majors have considerable field experience requiring many off campus responsibilities.

Communication majors have many practicum courses. Our newspaper publication requires much outside work in addition to the journalism coursework.

Cabrini’s radio station offers a one credit practicum class that demands many hours of dedication including a two-hour radio show, attendance at events and promotional work. One credit may seem like an unfair amount, but the lasting benefits are the highlight of the work.

The benefits of real-life experiential learning allow you to develop skills that you cannot master inside of a classroom. It gives substance to your resume and prepares you for life after graduation. Experiential courses, including cooperative education, require a certain amount of hours a week outside of the course that allow a student to grow in our fields and improve performance of our major.

All of these real-world courses are intended to allow students to build their skills and ultimately professional expertise in a way that cannot be matched by any lecture or coursework. College is meant to prepare us for life after graduation and the opportunities that a Cabrini education affords us will give us a definite competitive edge over graduates who did not get these opportunities.

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Kelsey Kastrava

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