Course Experience Typology

Academic divisions, units and programs at the University of Toronto are committed to supporting clarity and transparency regarding student learning experiences within their programs and courses. This commitment includes ensuring the connection and alignment of learning experiences within individual courses and the broader objectives of connected academic programs.

In order to achieve these goals at the undergraduate level, a University-wide typology of course experiences has been developed and integrated within the Syllabus module in the Course Information System (CIS). Currently, the following academic divisions have implemented CIS and will have access to the feature for their undergraduate courses as of Fall 2021:

  • Daniels Faculty of Architecture and Landscape Design
  • Faculty of Arts & Science
  • Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education
  • Faculty of Music
  • University of Toronto Scarborough
  • Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering (Fall 2022)

For those divisions, this feature will enable course instructors to identify when particular learning experiences are a major course component expected to be completed by all enrolled students.  As a result of this enhanced information, program administrators and curriculum committees will be better able to support clear communication with students over program and course expectations and alignment, as well as provide more pro-active support for course instructors offering course experiences that may require additional supports and resources, such as experiential learning.

Undergraduate Course Experience Tagging Process

Each time a course is offered the course instructor will have the ability in CIS to identify whether they will integrate a specific type of learning experience. The range of experience types have been grouped into two major categories:

  • Partnership-Based: All students complete a course requirement through supervision or engagement with an organization or individual external to the University or the course (e.g., internship within U of T). 
  • University-Based: All students in the course engage solely with the University course instructor(s) to achieve course learning outcomes​.

The experience sub-types available within these categories are intended to provide an enhanced description of the course experience beyond the two general categories.

Professional Work Term, is used to identify instances when students are completing a work term as part of an academic program:

  • Professional Work Term: All students complete a full-time work experience, on or off-campus, for a minimum of one term as a component of an academic program (e.g., co-op work term).

In some instances, academic divisions, units and/or programs have identified certain compulsory course experiences through their local curriculum governance process. The requirement for the inclusion of a specific type of learning experience is most commonly made through the work of program curriculum committees and is intended to ensure that all students attain program requirements and learning outcomes.*

When a pre-determination has been made for a course, this will be reflected in CIS by the pre-selection of Partnership-Based, University-Based or Professional Work Term. In such cases, course instructors will only have access to the experience sub-types available within the selected category.

Courses that have not been identified locally as requiring a specific course experience are open to having either a Partnership-Based or University-Based experience selected by the course instructor at the time of offering, with all sub-types within both categories available for selection.

* If you have questions about this process, please contact your program administrator for clarification.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
  • What are the benefits of tagging courses in these ways?

    Tagging courses provides divisional, unit, and/or program leadership with a more holistic view of active curricular activities and the student academic experience. Courses that have been tagged can more easily be identified for targeted information on pedagogical or partnership-related supports. Identifying courses in this way also supports the establishment of an institutional taxonomy of experiential course experiences that can be leveraged for other purposes, such as connecting this information with student-facing systems to enhance transparency around course expectations (e.g., timetable builder, course calendars, ACORN) or enhancing the information available on the student academic transcript relating to completed course experiences. Lastly, this process supports the University’s commitment to provincial reporting requirements for experiential learning through the Ministry of Colleges and Universities Strategic Mandate Agreement framework.
  • My course offers more than one sub-type, which one should I select?

    If your course offers both a Partnership-Based and a University-Based experience, please select the Partnership-Based sub-type in CIS. If your course offers more than one sub-type from either Partnership-Based or University-Based experience, please select the sub-type that you feel is most relevant and impactful to the course learning outcomes. If you would like to discuss this further, please feel free to contact your program administrator for clarification.
  • The partner I am working with is another University office / unit - does this count as a 'Partnership-Based Experience'?

    Yes, a unit within the University would count as being an external partner provided that the partner is external to the course. For example, if students in a Statistical Sciences course complete an organization-partnered project for the Division of Student Life, the Division of Student Life would be considered an external partner.
  • Only a sub-set of students in my course will participate in the identified course component, should I still tag my course as having this component?

    Please only select a course experience type and sub-type if the expectation is that all students in your course will participate in that aspect of the course, recognizing that unique individual circumstances may ultimately prevent all students from participating.
Determining the Appropriate Course Experience Type

If a course includes a Partnership-Based or University-Based experience where the intention is that all students will participate, instructors are encouraged to select the course experience type and sub-type in CIS from the list below.

The sub-types are grouped in two distinct categories: Partnership-Based and University-Based. Explore the categories below to identify which type is applicable to your course.

Partnership-Based

  • Academic Internship
  • Professional Practicum
  • Partnered Field Experience
  • Organization-Partnered Project

University-Based

  • Performance and Artistic Production
  • Simulated Work Experience
  • Non-Partnered Field Experience
  • Advanced Design
  • Advanced Laboratory
  • Research-Intensive

Course Experience Typology & Definitions

Partnership-Based

Course Experience Type

Definition

Links to Examples

A work experience that integrates academic learning with its application in a workplace. The experience has an in-class academic component. This type of experience is primarily intended to support the development of professional or industry-specific skills and competencies.

A practice-based experience where students observe or assist a licensed or registered professional through the hands-on application of disciplinary concepts in a professional setting. This type of experience is typically a requirement for professional licensure or certification and is primarily intended to support professional competency development. Students do not have an independent workload/caseload while on practicum. 

A practice-based experience where students participate in components of a discipline or profession through the hands-on application of disciplinary concepts. This type of experience typically occurs under the direction or supervision of a non-faculty professional and is primarily intended to support professional and discipline-based competency development. Experiences where students are only observing professional activities (e.g. field trips) are not considered field experiences in this context. 

A project-based research, design, consultancy, creative or artistic work experience undertaken in partnership with aorganization or individual external to the University or the course. The primary purpose of the experience is typically praxis, knowledge exchange or dissemination, and/or the development of new knowledge, products, technologies or services.

University-Based

Course Experience Type

Definition

Performance and Artistic Production

Students undertake or assist in projects and productions of audio, visual, theatrical or other forms of performance under the supervision of a U of T faculty or staff member. Experiences that take place in partnership with an external organization should be classified as organization-partnered experience.

Simulated Work Experience

Students participate in an immersive learning experience in an educational setting that replicates workplace tools, processes and/or environmental circumstances present outside of the university.

Non-Partnered Field Experience

Students either participate in or observe the application of disciplinary or professional practices under the direction or supervision of a U of T faculty or staff member. This type of experience is primarily intended to support professional or discipline-based competency development.

Advanced Design

Students apply design methods, principles, and practices to a significant, open-ended design project. This type of experience typically involves the development of a design project from an initial concept to a final working prototype. 

Advanced Laboratory

Students participate in inquiry-based laboratory experiments and apply advanced tools and techniques used in research labs. 

Research-Intensive

Students undertake a substantial research project that includes some of the following characteristics: student-generated or selected research questions, methodologies, conceptual frameworks, and project management plans; analysis and synthesis of collected information or data, and; demonstrate an understanding of research results in the context of the broader disciplinary literature.