Abroad student urges Denison to consider “field study” model

At Denison, our classes are in classrooms on a scenic hill. Granville is the town that sits around that hill—but what if our learn- ing could also take place in Granville?

I’m studying abroad in Copenhagen right now and all of my classes have field studies. This is where the class is required to meet together outside of class and do something related to class.

For my creative travel writing class, we had a full day of field study to help inspire us for our first writing assignment. We met at The Little Mermaid statue and walked to Nyhavn. Both are two of Copenhagens big- gest tourist attractions. We could have just talked about these two sites and why tour- ists flock there, but by going to these places in person, we were able to understand fully what the appeal of those spots were and share a common experience to write about. We not only bonded with our classmates but also learned through unique experi- ences outside the classroom.

In my Strategic Communication class, we traveled to Western Denmark and toured one of Denmark’s largest TV sta- tions. This was a great way to meet working professionals in the field of communications and hear why they work in television. We learned a lot more about Danish television from the tour than we would’ve learned in a textbook. Our tour guide showed us where they film the evening news and ex- plained to us how they decided what shows to broadcast. It was a very memorable and exciting experience.

Field studies are a terrific learning tool and I would love to experience them at Denison. You wouldn’t even have to travel that far to find sites to visit. Biology classes could visit the Licking County hospital, communication classes could visit the Newark Advocate, and economic classes could visit the Granville Chamber of Com- merce and see how they balance their budget. There are so many businesses in Granville and Newark that could serve as eye-opening learning tools.

Since field studies do not take place during the set class time, scheduling can be a challenge. In my study abroad program, students do not have class on Wednesdays because that day is reserved for field studies. It would be ideal if Denison could block out two or three hours somewhere in the week and reserve that for class field studies. I’ve really enjoyed seeing more of Copenhagen and Denmark outside of the classrooms and bonding with my fellow students through field studies. I encourage Denison to consider using field studies in the future.

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