Place-based learning is a pedagogy and a learning strategy through which learners engage with themselves, with each other, their larger communities, and with the natural environment. Real-life learning experiences enhance and anchor learning and increase student engagement. Current social time-constraints and individual’s abilities to learn in convenient environments have aided a proliferation in distance education programs as a popular and preferred path to learning. Online courses may be convenient for the busy 21st century student. However, there is still a need for online courses to create and foster community. Can these two learning strategies, which seem so distant in scope from one another, come together in one blended course?
Rather than just reading about local plants and their uses, learners can go into the field and experience it for themselves. Native Plants of Hawaiʻi: Exploring Waikīkī was created to inspire inquiry of the local culture and environment, while supporting and enhancing learners’ cognitive abilities. This course seeks to incorporate online, asynchronous learning with a required field day. The online learning orients students to identification knowledge of native plants they encounter and their traditional (historical and contemporary) uses. The physical encounter assists with recall for students’ future application. The dual experience strengthens knowledge from simply “knowing” as they have had physical, active encounters with what they were learning. This session will share relevant, place-based assessment and what that could look like for local learning communities in online courses.