Experiential Education Exercise

An Invitation to University Instructors to Participate in our Experiential Education Research Assignment in the Development of the CARFMS Academia and Practitioners Forum (A&PF)


The CARFMS Academia and Practitioners Forum (A&PF) is a major research initiative of CARFMS that is intended to provide teachers, students, researchers, policymakers, advocates, practitioners and the public at large with an online “one-stop” ready access to the essential instructional and research tools in the field of refugee and forced migration studies and its practice. The A&PF is a multi-dimensional web platform that provides essential instructional and research tools for advancing the knowledge and understanding of the plight of refugees and other forced migrants in the world today. Moreover, it is aligned directly with the purposes and objectives of CARFMS as an association that “promotes and supports excellence in Canadian research and teaching of refugee and forced migration issues.” (See the CARFMS Bylaws at Article 3, Purposes and Objectives, http://carfms.org/bylaws/.)

The A&PF is CARFMS’ contribution to e-learning or online knowledge acquisition and information sharing. The ‘Academia’ component of A&PF is an onine research and teaching tool on an entirely open access site. It is intended to be used by anyone who is interested in acquiring the necessary skill sets to become an informed refugee and forced migration researcher. The PF component is intended for the specific use of the members of CARFMS. Its discussion forums are structured according to discipline and profession so as to allow for dialogue along disciplinary or occupational lines, but also  provide crosscutting forums that allow dialogue across general interests and concerns. It contains valuable sources of information and exchange facilities for CARFMS members.

The combined A&PF is an active and continuous collaborative research project kept alive by a group of leading researchers and scholars in refugee and forced migration studies. The A&PF is found at the following web page: http://rfmsot.apps01.yorku.ca/home/. The site is userfriendly, straightforward and easy to understand, and it features a number of useful devices, including Google translation, to make the content on the website more accessible in a wide range of languages.

The Value of Experiential Education

Experiential Education  or Work integrated learning (WIL) provides students and academics with opportunities to gain skills and abilities that can normally only be acquired in the work setting (as opposed to an instructional setting), and enables at the same time to produce something of value and utility to other users. The A&PF provides students with the chance to work on an active ongoing research project consisting of  building and developing a web platform for refugee and forced migration studies and practice. It is part of a broader common participatory collective research exercise that has involved students from a number of universities in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. This research assignment was first developed and tested at the University of Montreal, Ryerson University and at York University. It was subsequently taken up by students at Northwestern University in the U.S. The initial piloting of this EE assignment elicited positive feedback from students.

In sum, it provides students an opportunity to work on a “live” ongoing continuous research project and to contribute to a knowledge development and generation tool that is of practical value and utility to those who studying and working in the field of refugee and forced migration studies. The students’ work is duly acknowledged when their contributions are added to the website.

 The EE Research Assignment

The EE assignment that can be incorporated into most courses on refugees and forced migration consists of the following: (1) sample assignment instructions; and, (2) student consent form.

Sample Assignment Instructions:

Sample Assignment Instructions (PDF) Sample Assignment Instructions (DOC)


(Recommended weight, 20 % of the Final Grade)

This assignment requires the selection of two terms and/or concepts and/or methodological approaches and/or theoretical frameworks that would be directly related to your research paper topic. The assignment will also allow you to participate in an ongoing research project in the field of refugee and forced migration studies, the Canadian Association for Refugee and Forced Migration Studies (CARFMS) online research and reaching rool that is part of an Academia and Practioners forum (A&PF) http://rfmsot.apps01.yorku.ca/home/. On the completion of this assignment you will be given the option of having your work submitted to the A&PF for possible inclusion on the A&PF website. This will require the completion and submission of a consent form.

For each term, concept and/or theoretical framework selected, you are required to prepare a two-page paper based on the following template:

  1. definitions
  2. examples and/or illustrations
  3. other useful sources
  4. bibliography
  5. case law, if relevant
  6. other related terms

Please consult the CARFMS – A&PF website and the Glossary of Terms, Key Concepts, Methodological Approaches and Theoretical Frameworks that provide clear examples of this template and what is expected for this assignment. (NB: Do not use Wikipedia or any other non-authoritative sources for this assignment.)

For each term selected:

  • use no less than three different definitions of the term from three different reputable and reliable online or hard copy sources;
  • there should be at least four examples to clearly describe and explain the phenomena and/or illustrations (that is, audio and/or visual materials such as photos, films, maps, diagrams, graphs, and charts, etc.);
  • there should be a minimum of four other useful sources;
  • for the bibliography, you should mention no less than six references from highly authoritative and reliable sources;
  • if the terms, concepts, methodologies and/or theoretical approaches selected lend themselves to case law, cite no less than two pertinent and relevant leading refugee law cases preferably from the most senior levels of the court system in Canada, the Federal Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada,. For this part of the assignment you may wish to consult the UNHCR’s Refworld at http://www.refworld.org/.

It is not necessarily the case that the key terms, concepts and/or theoretical frameworks are already listed on the CARFMS A&PF website. Terms, concepts and/or theoretical frameworks not listed on the website will also be considered, however,  but they must have been approved by the instructor of the course before they are submitted.

To avoid duplication, students must select different terms, concepts and/or theoretical frameworks. No student can do the same terms, concepts, methodologies and/or theoretical frameworks as those that are already on the website.

The deadline for the submission of the terms, concepts and/or theoretical frameworks to the instructor is  ——- at ——-

Sample Consent Form: