Use Backward Design to Plan for Your Excursion: Backward design can help you to create a meaningful experience by prompting you to think about your learning objectives first before planning your activities and assessments. Consider incorporating active learning experiences throughout the trip to bring students together and get everyone involved.
Make Time for Planning: Taking students out requires coordination and careful planning. Make sure that you have enough time to plan for things like transportation, food, activities and course content. You may also want to make time to get to know the place where you are taking students so that you can provide guidance when they arrive at the site.
Consider Planning with Other Faculty: If you are co-teaching a class, are one of many professors teaching multiple sections or know someone in your program or department that may benefit from your excursion, consider working with other faculty when when you plan for a trip. You can also consider working with faculty that are from different disciplines in order to create a rich interdisciplinary experience.
Prepare Students Beforehand: Brief students on where you are going, what they will be doing and what to expect in terms of weather, food and exertion. This kind of active guidance ensures that students get the most out of the learning experience while providing support for students who have not gone outside of the classroom before.
Encourage Reflection Before, During and After the Trip: In order to make an out-of-class excursion meaningful it is helpful to create time for reflection where students can make personal and academic connections before, during and after their learning experiences. Consider using L. Dee Fink’s Taxonomy of Significant Learning Experiences to craft reflective questions that focus both on what a student has learned and also how a student has grown in their own self-awareness, their understanding of others and their renewed sense of values and ethics.