Putting NYC to Work: Using Place-Based Assignments in Your Courses

In the second installment of the TLC’s two-part workshop series on place-based learning, we’ll explore strategies for creating and integrating creative assignments that take advantage of New York’s cultural resources, including its many archives, museums, libraries, performing arts institutions, green spaces, etc. We’ll start by considering the history and theory behind experiential learning, and discuss its particular affordances within the CUNY context. We’ll then look at examples of place-based assignments drawn from CUNY campuses, with an eye toward identifying the pedagogical and practical factors to consider when structuring experiential learning opportunities: from logistical challenges, to options for assessing creative assignments, to designing site-based activities that streamline rather than add to instructor workload. We’ll then work together to devise place-based activities that we can include in our courses and transport across disciplines.

This workshop was offered in Fall 2017 as an in-person workshop at the Graduate Center, CUNY. The workshop and materials were developed by Elizabeth Alsop.


All materials on this page and in the linked google folder are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC-BY-SA) 4.0 International Public License.

This folder contains outreach materials, workshop plans, handouts, examples and a bibliography on the topic.

Materials Folder: Putting NYC to Work: Using Place-Based Assignments in Your Courses Workshop

Workshop Plan

Overview of Time

1:00-1:15 Introductions

1:15-1:30 Overview:  History, Theory, Pedagogical Rationale (cuny context)

1:30-1:45 Example Showcase

1:45-2:15 Activity I: Design a place-based activity (independently/in groups)

2:15-2:45 Discussion and Feedback with group 

2:45-3:00 Questions and Survey

I. Introductions (15 min)

II. Overview: History & Theory

  • Definitions: What is place-based learning?
  • From “What” → “Why”?
  • With all this in mind: Why not use place-based assignments in your courses?

III. Example Showcase

IV. Activity 

Having looked at the sample assignments, begin to devise a possible place-based assignment we might incorporate in a current (or future) course – Framing questions

15 minutes for solo work; then confer and workshop ideas with a partner for 15 min. Then we’ll all go around and share with the group

[Handout: Faculty Questions]

[Handout: Student Questions]

V. Discussion 

  • Go around and share with the group
  • What resources would be useful to you going forward?
  • List of places/contacts/free days/museum educators?

VI. Wrap-Up/Survey