Blended – Global Immersion Experiential Learning – Cuba

  • Participants will spend 2 weeks traveling and studying in Cuba during the 3rd term.
  • Cuban programming will be led by UWL facilitators.
  • Study will include issues of race, social stratification, poverty, immigration, refugees, generational trauma, and Cuban push for change.
  • There is no language requirement for participation in this program, however, all will engage in Spanish language study and enrichment as part of the coursework.
  • Learn how to design and implement classroom action research.
  • Blend your learning with online coursework specially designed for the working educator.

Where do classes meet?
The initial classes will meet in the Madison area, however, after this meetings will take place in a variety of locations in WI.  Meeting locations will depend largely on the class members and the activities chosen to engage in as part of our experiential design.

When do classes meet?
The cohort will meet 1 or 2 times per month on dates that are set by members of the cohort.  Class days will be approximately 8 hours in length.

What does it mean to Learn in Community?
Over the past 20 years, the UW-L Learning Community model has become one of the most well respected graduate programs for teachers in Wisconsin and surrounding states.  The program focuses on the power of relationships, reflective practice and the support of a small group of teachers learning together in a supportive environment to complete their graduate work as a community of passionate learners.  Students work in both small groups and as individuals to complete their course work over this four semester program.

What is Culturally & Linguistically Responsive Instruction?
This program seeks to support teachers in deepening their understanding of the pedagogical  approaches to teaching and learning that recognize, honor and reflect the cultural and linguistic references that students and teachers bring to the classroom.  Developing positive perspectives on students, their families, and the communities from which they come helps teachers create and maintain classroom relationships and expectations that allow all student to thrive.

What is Experiential Learning Design?
Do, Play, Learn, Show, Live! These are some of the cornerstones of the most powerful learning experiences any teacher can provide their students. This program will model this ethic by seeking to include experiences and interactive learning during our face-to-face meetings. Students in this cohort should be prepared to travel to museums, events, school sites and other locations where we can learn from experts and experiences.

What about the online component?
Much of the academic work for this program will take place online. Students will be asked to read and respond to academic literature, write and provide feedback to classmates online and communicate regularly outside of class time using a variety of online platforms.

What about the workload?
The academic load of this program is consistent with the work required of any graduate program for working teachers. Students should anticipate the workload fluctuating throughout the four semesters. However, students should expect to spend 4-6 hours per week on readings, writing and project work throughout the program.
All students will be required to complete an action research project that will be due in the final semester of the program.  Work load for this project may be heavier during the final stages of the writing and editing process.

Update: The 2020 Fall for Education Conference has been cancelled. 
The Fall for Education Conference is the first full weekend in November annually.  The conference is part of learning outcomes for each IPSE program including Educational Leadership, Director of Instruction, MSED Learning Communities, and Reading.  A Special Course Fee of $60.00 is incorporated into fall tuition for the conference to help compensate for meals and breaks. Attendance at the conference is a program requirement.

Program Costs:

Program costs are estimated at approximately $4,800 including airfare. This is in addition to the tuition for the term.

Courses: Blended

Course Course Name Credits
Term 1
EDU 601 Learning Community 1 credit
EDU 641 Educational Research 2 credits
EDU 621 Best Practice Pedagogy 1 credit
EDU 631 Curriculum Development and Assessment 1 credit
EDU 651 Democracy, Diversity and Social Justice in Education 1 credit
EDU 611 Technology in Education 1 credit
EDU 661 Teacher Leadership 1 credit
Term 2
EDU 602 Learning Community 1 credit
EDU 642 Educational Research 2 credits
EDU 622 Best Practice Pedagogy 1 credit
EDU 632 Curriculum Development and Assessment 1 credit
EDU 652 Democracy, Diversity and Social Justice in Education 1 credit
EDU 612 Technology in Education 1 credit
EDU 662 Teacher Leadership 1 credit
Term 3
EDU 703 Learning Community 1 credit
EDU 743 Educational Research 2 credits
EDU 723 Best Practice Pedagogy 1 credit
EDU 733 Curriculum Development and Assessment 1 credit
EDU 753 Democracy, Diversity and Social Justice in Education 1 credit
EDU 713 Technology in Education 1 credit
EDU 763 Teacher Leadership 1 credit
Term 4
EDU 704 Learning Community 1 credit
EDU 744 Educational Research 2 credits
EDU 724 Best Practice Pedagogy 1 credit
EDU 734 Curriculum Development and Assessment 1 credit
EDU 754 Democracy, Diversity and Social Justice in Education 1 credit
EDU 714 Technology in Education 1 credit
EDU 764 Teacher Leadership 1 credit
TOTAL   32 credits


EDU 601/EDU 602/EDU 703/EDU 704               Learning in Community 
In this course, students will come to understand the value of learning in a collaborative setting.  Students will examine theories and key aspects of community development.  Students will practice creating and sustaining community within the learning community and within their workplace.  Opportunities will also be given to explore developing professional learning communities beyond the program.


  • Students will understand what it means to learn in community.
  • Students will examine theories of community development.
  • Students will create and sustain learning in community within the ME-PD Learning Community.
  • Students will create and sustain learning in community within the professional workplace.

EDU 641/EDU 642/EDU 743/EDU 744               Educational Research 
In this course, students will gain knowledge of action research and implement an action research study in the workplace.  Students will understand and experience all stages of the action research process.  Students will recognize the value of data in making decisions regarding PK-16 teaching and learning.  Students will complete an action research study and disseminate the results.


  • Students will recognize different methods of educational research.
  • Students will identify and implement various data collection tools.
  • Students will understand and implement an action research study.
  • Students will write a scholarly action research article.

EDU 621/EDU 622/EDU 723/EDU 724               Best Practice Pedagogy 
In this course, students will study and apply research-based best practices for teaching and learning.  They will be challenged to reflect upon current practice, incorporate best practices, and improve future practice as they seek continuous improvement.  Students will be provided a variety of forums to investigate, analyze and reflect upon their implementation of multiple instructional methodologies for the purpose of improving PK-16 student learning.


  • Students will study and apply best practices and current research to teaching with the purpose to improve PK-16 student learning.
  • Students will understand brain development as it relates to student learning and the learning environment.
  • Students will align teaching and instruction to the developmental needs of their students.
  • Students will be familiar with and apply instructional strategies appropriate for specific content area subject matter.

EDU 631/EDU 632/EDU 733/EDU 734               Curriculum Development and Assessment 
In this course, students will evaluate current curriculum, investigate curricular frameworks, and align curriculum to teaching standards and academic standards.  Students will experience, investigate and implement various forms of assessment.  Students will design classroom curriculum that aligns curriculum and assessment for the purpose of improving PK-16 student learning.


  • Students will evaluate current curriculum and assessment practices.
  • Students will improve their knowledge of academic content area.
  • Students will align classroom curriculum and assessment with teaching standards and academic content standards.
  • Students will collect and analyze evidence of PK-16 student learning and modify instruction as necessary.
  • Students will utilize ongoing assessments to monitor and promote student learning and to guide curriculum development.
  • Students will critique, identify and develop quality curriculum.

EDU 651/EDU 652/EDU 754                              Democracy, Diversity and Social Justice in Education 
In this course, students will examine social issues that influence the Learning Community, personal behavior, professional settings, and institutional systems. Issues explored will include (but will not be limited to) class, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, and religion, as well as harassment and bullying.  Through this exploration, students will understand how social issues influence relationships in order to take action regarding equity and justice in the workplace.


  • Students will examine areas of diversity that influence the Learning Community and current professional settings.
  • Students will examine reflectively the issues of diversity including, but not limited to class, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, and religion.
  • Students will promote issues of equity and justice. 
  • Students will understand how diversity influences relationships at a personal and institutional level. Students will understand harassment and bullying.

Summer term EDU 753                                      Democracy, Diversity and Social Justice in Education 
In this third course of four, students will integrate democracy, diversity, and social justice in education. Coursework requirements include application to the workplace setting and communication via technology. The key concepts of this course include: diversity issues and democracy in the classroom.

The Cuban Culture and Society: Summer Institute in Cuba is a rich and beautifully designed immersive experience for teachers and faculty.  For an educator, Cuba is rich with lessons to bring into the classroom. This program highlights the important historical and cultural connections between the United States and Cuba. Participants will explore key sites and meet local experts and artists who will provide unique insight for educators who teach such subjects as U.S./Latin American Relations, World Geography, World History, Foreign Policy, Literacy, and Spanish among others.

The institute incorporates visits to local museums and exposes participants to arts organizations, schools, and teachers from the country’s national literacy campaign. Participants will stay within walking distance of the Malecón, the university, and many cultural venues. There will be group excursions to the historic Che Guevara monument, a visit to the site of the Bay of Pigs invasion, and a special visit to the town of Hershey, the town developed by Milton Hershey to begin his chocolate enterprise with the sugar from Cuba’s plantations. There will also be group excursions to the historic cities of Trinidad and Cienfuegos, Playa Girón, and Viñales, focusing on their role in the development of the economy and culture of the country.

EDU 611/EDU 612/EDU 713/EDU 714               Technology in Education
In this course, students will distinguish between informational and instructional technology.  They will be exposed to a variety of technology tools and software and gain practical technology skills.  Students will use a variety of online tools and programs to communicate and collaborate.  They will analyze and implement developmentally appropriate instructional technology in their workplace.  They will explore current technology and how it relates to the culture of PK-16 students.  Students will document competency related to student-created goals in a professional development portfolio.


  • Students will distinguish between informational technology and instructional technology.
  • Students will be exposed to various informational and instructional technology tools and software.
  • Students will be able to create, communicate and collaborate online.
  • Students will explore the role of current technology and PK-16 student culture.
  • Students will discover what technology is developmentally appropriate for their students.
  • Students will critically choose when, where, and how to integrate technology within their classrooms.

EDU 661/EDU 662/EDU 763/EDU 764               Teacher Leadership
In this course, students will explore teacher leadership that strengthens professional practice.  They will reflect upon political issues and educational issues in developing their personal and professional identity.  Students will be challenged to demonstrate educational leadership beyond their own classroom.  Students will explore initiatives related to systems and trends that improve and contribute to learning.


  • Students will develop an awareness of and a means of utilizing their personal and professional identities.
  • Students will share newly acquired skills and knowledge with others in the profession.
  • Students will demonstrate leadership in the educational profession beyond teaching in their own classroom.
  • Students will develop political awareness of educational issues.
  • Students will develop an understanding of school systems.