I'm a big advocate for real-life experience and projects in the college classroom. I was lucky enough at Champlain College to do just that. This included projects like putting together a full PR Campaign for Vermont Teddy Bear or creating an internet marketing strategy and website for Sonoma Station Restaurant. Then presenting the project, to the executives or owners of the company at the end of the semester. This prepares students for work experience once they graduate, because 'experience is knowledge.' Stanford University is also paving the path for real-world classroom experience by allowing their students to design Internet applications in class which is actually earning them a monetary income through online sales.
A student, Vikram Oberoi is selling his "Site Saver" application for the iPhone priced at $1.99. This app was built in an elective computer CS193P science class. College Mogul who also covered this article notes this progressive business nature to the amount of resources available online today. "As more resources appear online, educators can start giving lessons to students in class via guided Internet exercises."
From this specific CS193P class, 40 apps have emerged and several are available for purchase at the iPhone App Store on iTunes. Vikram created a website featuring these apps, which you can view here.
I can't help but agree with College Mogul that, "with more industries finding success and growth online, teachers will be able to integrate class lessons with “real world” gain—and potentially capture student’s interests in classroom lectures. For example, in video classes, students can publish their videos to YouTube and let the world judge how much they want to see their film. Authors can test their appeal on blogs. Financial classes can take students through the process of investing with services like Ameritrade."
Champlain College offers real world experience, not just in my Public Relations major--Broadcasting majors are allowed to host their own radio show in our studio or Criminal Justice majors have a required hands-on internship with the Vermont Medical Examiner's office, local law enforcement or corrections agency. I hope to see more university's and colleges adopting this technique. Instead of just teaching them how to fish, give them the fishing pole and let them wade into the water.
So what about you? Do you know any college's adopting this strategy in the classroom? What about a class you took in college that prepared you for the real-world?