Join Us

Are you teaching a course that should be listed on this site, or would you like to get together to talk about place-responsive, immersive, or embodied teaching methods?

Are you a student looking for courses that take you outside the classroom?

Contact us to learn more: Matt Price, matt [dot] price [at] utoronto [dot] ca, or Frances Garrett, frances [dot] garrett [at] utoronto [dot] ca

Join us in April for

University of Toronto Outdoors: Experiential Teaching & Learning Workshop

Thursday, 12 April 2018, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Room 318, 170 St. George Street, University of Toronto

Refreshments will be served. Please register at


What’s special about teaching in the outdoors? What would it take to create a robust roster of courses at U of T that use the outdoors as a teaching resource? Can we form a community of instructors at the University with a focus on common pedagogical problems? This workshop is an invitation to explore these issues and, alongside them, the future of outdoor education at the University. 

In this workshop we will review research conducted by the University of Toronto Outdoors (UTO) initiative, which has been experimenting with place-responsive, immersive, and embodied teaching and learning. Faculty will present their work and we will discuss pedagogical benefits and challenges of experiential teaching and learning. Together we’ll go through administrative, logistical, and financial practices and challenges involved in experiential teaching at the U of T.


The first part of this workshop will consist of presentations by participants who have experimented with immersive and/or embodied teaching. Following the presentations, our discussion will be organized using an “unconference” format, with topics determined by the group.

Please feel free to add your name to the list of presenters or to suggest topics for discussion.

1:00 – 2:00 Presentations by participants

10-15 minute presentations

Matt Price and Frances Garrett, University of Toronto: Matt and Frances have led several short, intensive student programs in India, and they have also experimented with on-campus courses that engage students with walking the streets of Toronto, paddling the rivers of Ontario, or other forms of immersive, embodied student engagement.

Bob Henderson, McMaster University: Bob has 30+ years of teaching experience in the field and will talk about how to evaluate field trips, how to create a course start to finish, and how to get the most out of immersive outdoor learning opportunities in the context of University-level humanities courses.

Andrea Most, University of Toronto: Andrea has taught a food studies course where students spent time cooking in the University’s kitchens, and she is planning an intensive grad course that will take place on her farm.

UTO Student Team (Laura Burnett, Alysse Kennedy, Salina Suri, and Laila Strazds): The UTO Student Team has researched the literature on outdoor education and will discuss suggested best-practices and conceptualizations of outdoor learning in an academic setting.

John Currie, University of Toronto Mississauga: John has taught writing at UTM for more than a decade. He will discuss his course Writing about Environment and Ecology, specifically the component in which students conduct an interview of someone involved in an environmental project. He will read from a student’s piece in which she shadowed a Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP) volunteer on her morning run.

Presentations by other participants: Space for other participants to present their own courses or programs.

2:00 Workshop planning

Possible topics include pedagogical goals and strategies for immersive learning, approaches to funding and sustaining such programs institutionally, or ideas for courses or collaborative projects. We’ll also decide whether to divide into smaller groups or discuss all topics as a large group.

2:10 – 3:30



Report back/summary of findings/Action Items