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Accepting the Terms and Conditions: An Evaluation of a Parole-Based Experiential Assignment

Experiential learning is an effective pedagogical tool that has been associated with several beneficial student outcomes. Given the complex and applied nature of criminal justice courses, educators in these fields have sought to implement experiential learning, developing ...

Published onJan 22, 2024
Accepting the Terms and Conditions: An Evaluation of a Parole-Based Experiential Assignment
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Abstract

Experiential learning is an effective pedagogical tool that has been associated with several beneficial student outcomes. Given the complex and applied nature of criminal justice courses, educators in these fields have sought to implement experiential learning, developing several impactful initiatives along the way. However, many of these require extensive safety planning, resource acquisition, community partnerships, and institutional buy-in. The present study introduces and evaluates an experiential assignment that helps circumvent some of these issues, wherein first-year university students (n = 42) abide by a set of self-selected parole/probation conditions, write a reflection on their experience, and report on the empirical saliency of their conditions. Following the assignment deadline, an online survey was disseminated to students to gauge the impact of their experience. Results indicated that students enjoyed the assignment, believing that it provided real-world experience, transformed their perspectives, and helped them better understand their course material. Students also demonstrated a strong desire for more experiential learning opportunities in their program. Implications and future directions are discussed.

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