Immersive learning—the hallmark of a Ball State education—pulls together interdisciplinary student teams guided by expert faculty to create unique, high-impact learning experiences that result in real-world solutions.
Distinctive characteristics synthesize disciplinary knowledge with application. Students and faculty turn knowledge into judgment and judgment into action through projects and programs that benefit business, community, and government partners across the state and around the world.
Between 2007 and 2012, about 16,400 students have completed upwards of 1,000 immersive learning experiences throughout Indiana and as far away as Hong Kong, Venice, and Malawi. Featured projects include transforming hospital gowns into cozy, dignified apparel for patients with cancer; converting elaborate statistics into dynamic informational graphics about water scarcity; and bringing history to life through educational computer programs for elementary schools.
“Getting the chance to apply my skills to something that is relevant and affecting hundreds, thousands, even millions of lives is so rewarding,” says Malik Cato, ’12, who collaborated with global news organization Circle of Blue to create interactive graphics about the surging global water crisis. “I see the weight put on journalists’ shoulders to convey the facts and others’ ideas, so I take what I do a lot more seriously.”
Several immersive learning projects have developed into ongoing programs. Schools Within the Context of Community is an immersive, 18-credit semester that places students in high-need elementary schools as they examine the context in which children learn and grow, a critical component to effective teaching. Students work with community partners to identify, develop, and implement strategies to support children and families through education and service.
Hear from our students about how immersive learning has enabled them to make a lasting impact, gain professional experience, and establish professional connections.
Whether you are a student, faculty member, or community partner, we have the resources to help you prepare for and engage in an immersive learning project that blends your interests and educational focus with societal needs. Building Better Communities (BBC) and the Virginia B. Ball Center for Creative Inquiry work to connect faculty and students with community partners eager to participate in immersive learning opportunities. Academic departments also generate projects, so students can contact their academic advisor or department to learn more about upcoming projects.
Immersive learning is more than just school-sponsored service through internships and co-ops. Distinctive characteristics—including student-driven projects, lasting outcomes, and community partnerships—set immersive learning apart from other experiential learning opportunities.
Students gain professional experience and intangible skills such as critical thinking and working well in teams, which top executives value in employees, according to a national survey by the Association of American Colleges and Universities.
Faculty members are able to guide personally and professionally enriching projects, which often result in publishing opportunities that advance tenure and promotion. Business and community partners benefit from faculty-led teams of students eager to delve into on-site, problem-based projects that make a lasting impact.
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