Applied Economics Teaching Resources

an AAEA Journal

Agricultural and Applied Economics Association

Teaching and Educational Methods

Reimagining Teaching Water Issues through Integrative Experiential Learning

Samrat B. Kunwar(a), Niraj Khatiwada(b), Mohammad Mashiur Rahman(c), Mengqi Liu(d), Swati Thapa(e), Alok K. Bohara(f), Jingjing Wang(f)
(a)University of the Pacific, (b)Siena College, (c)Northern Arizona University, (d)Gordon College, (e)PNMF, (f)University of New Mexico

JEL Codes: JEL Codes: Q25, I20
Keywords: Community outreach, experiential learning, interdisciplinary teaching, problem-based learning, water

Publish Date: August 3, 2023

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This paper highlights an undergraduate experiential learning course on water resources, which was designed and coordinated by the Nepal Study Center (NSC) and offered by the economics department at the University of New Mexico (UNM). The experiential learning course, “Problem-Based Learning,” combined learning experience in the classroom with community outreach and international research experience via a study abroad program. The course development closely followed the principles of the “experiential learning theory” (ELT), and the course structure comprised four components: (1) field-based data collection, problem identification, and conceptual framework development, (2) data analysis and development of potential intervention and solutions, (3) study abroad and implementation in the field, and (4) dissemination of findings and community outreach. A noteworthy feature of this learning model included graduate and undergraduate student collaboration. Graduate students aided instructors by serving as mentors for undergraduate students, helping them with empirical analysis and leading discussions in the development of policy tools and solutions implemented in the study abroad program. The broader impacts of these experiential learning courses can be summarized as: (1) student learning experience, (2) community impacts, (3) research experience, and (4) potential for the program to serve as a model for other institutions.

About the Authors: Samrat B. Kunwar is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Economics at the University of the Pacific. Niraj Khatiwada is a Visiting Assistant Professor with the Department of Economics at Siena College. Mohammad Mashiur Rahman is an Assistant Teaching Professor at The W. A. Franke College of Business at Northern Arizona University. Mengqi Liu is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Economics and Business at Gordon College. Swati Thapa is an Executive Director with Pratiman-Neema Memorial Foundation (PNMF), Lumbini, Nepal. Alok K. Bohara is a Professor, with the Department of Economics at the University of New Mexico. ( Jingjing Wang is an Associate Professor with the Department of Economics at the University of New Mexico. Acknowledgements: I thank Gábor Ungvári, Samuel Ian Rosen, two reviewers, and the special issue editors for their comments on an earlier draft of this paper. This version is almost entirely new in words (but not in goals), so I thank them for helping me sharpen its focus. All remaining mistakes are mine.

Copyright is governed under Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA


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