Frequently Asked Questions

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The College of Engineering and Applied Science at CU-Boulder defines active learning as “enhancing knowledge, skills, and understanding through practical experience." The college’s goal is to provide all students with the opportunity to participate in enrichment experiences and partnerships with individual faculty and professionals.

If you'd like to learn more about active learning at CU-Boulder and how an active learning experience can help bolster your college career, take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions below - the answers will give you the lowdown on internships, co-ops, the Active Learning Award, and more. Still curious? You may want to view or print the Guide to Active Learning Opportunities.

What is the Active Learning Award?

The Active Learning Award is awarded to undergraduate students who participate in at least one activity in each of the following categories: discovery (research), service, and professional (internships and co-ops) learning. The college will recognize these students with an award upon their graduation.

How do I apply for the Active Learning Award?

An individualized email including the application will be sent to all students the semester of the term in which they have applied for graduation (how to apply for graduation can be found here.) Applications will generally be emailed one month prior to the application due date; therefore, if you apply for graduation after that date you will need to contact Dan Watson directly to receive an application.

*Note: Summer graduates are given the opportunity to submit an application so that they are able to wear the medal at spring graduation ceremonies. Just be sure to have applied for graduation by the same deadlines as spring graduates and an application will be emailed to you.
 

Can I apply one activity to more than one active learning category?

No. A single activity may not be applied to more than one category of active learning.

When is the deadline for the Active Learning Award?

The Active Learning Award submission deadline is approximately five weeks prior to graduation: November 1 for December graduates, April 1 for May graduates, and July 1 for August graduates.

What activities will qualify for the Discovery Learning portion of the award?

These activities are typically completed on behalf of on-campus organizations. The following list of activities provides an example of opportunities that are applicable toward the Discovery Learning portion of the award.  If you would like to learn more about these opportunities, please visit the Discovery Learning page.

  • Independent study
  • Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP)
  • BURST: Bioscience Undergraduate Research Skills and Training (formerly Undergraduate Research Assistantship Program, URAP)
  • Discovery Learning Apprenticeship
  • NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)
  • NIH Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Scholar
  • Research experience with Space Grant
  • Other experience that has a significant research component may be substituted for the above options, but the petition process explained below must be followed

What activities will qualify for the Service Learning portion of the award?

The following list of activities provides an example of opportunities that are applicable towards the Service Learning portion of the award.  If you would like to learn more about these opportunities, please visit the Service Learning page. For items marked with an asterisk (*), see "Service Participation Points" below.

  • Completion of an elective course with a required service learning component
  • Completion of an optional service learning component within a required course
  • Completion of an Earn/Learn Apprenticeship
  • Participation in Engineering Fellows Program for at least one academic year
  • Service through Dean’s Office and/or Engineering Ambassadors*
  • Student society/group leadership (AIAA, ASCE, ASME, SWE, EWB, etc)*
  • Outreach through Space Grant and the BOLD Center*
  • Other experience that has a significant service component may be substituted for the above options, but the petition process explained below must be followed

What activities will qualify for the Professional Learning portion of the award?

These activities are typically completed on behalf of off-campus organizations. The following list of activities provides an example of opportunities that are applicable towards the Professional Learning portion of the award. If you would like to learn more about these opportunities, please visit the Professional Learning page.

  • Internship experience (must be relevant work experience with an engineering focus)
  • Co-op experience (must be relevant work experience with an engineering focus)
  • STEM-TP participant
  • NIST Professional Research Experience Program (PREP)
  • INROADS co-ops
  • Other experience that has a significant professional component may be substituted for the above options, but the petition process explained below must be followed

What is the petition process for alternate credit?

If you have had an active learning experience (not specifically listed in the above activities) that you believe should qualify for credit towards discovery, service, or professional learning, you will have an opportunity to provide details of these experiences in the application that will be emailed to you. Please be sure to provide as much detail and contact information as possible.

What are Service Participation Points?

To meet the service requirement, you should expect to provide service for an extended period of time (such as tutoring students for several hours every week for two academic semesters) or assisting/leading multiple short-term events per year for several years. The expected effort to meet the service learning qualification by petition is comparable to the effort required by other listed service activities.

The number of service participation points awarded to an individual for involvement in an activity will vary based on the students’ level of participation and the duration of the activity. Some examples of activities that earn participation points towards this award include:

  • Volunteer service through dean’s office and/or Engineering Ambassadors
    • Engineering Open House/Admitted Students Day
    • Student for a Day tours
    • Various other opportunities
  • Service through student groups/organizations
    • Leadership in a professional society’s student chapter (AIAA, ASCE, ASME, SWE, etc.)
    • Engineers Without Borders - CU project work (with or without travel)
    • Various additional opportunities
  • Service through Space Grant and the BOLD Center (beyond those activities that are required - for example, as part of a scholarship award)
    • Engineering education in K-12 schools
    • Preparation for K-12 outreach activity
    • Conducting tours of CU labs or student projects
    • Presentations to adult groups
    • Leading academic excellence workshops/tutoring students

Who do I contact if I have questions?

For questions, please contact Dan Watson at daniel.j.watson@colorado.edu or 303-492-4404.

Important Announcements

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