SS 241 - Foundations of Outdoor Education 



In this course students explore the historical and theoretical foundations of the field of Outdoor Education, as well the range of applications within the field. Students explore leadership and adventure programming theory and practice through experiential activities, including weekly student-led outdoor activity sessions. Additionally, students meet regularly with local elementary and middle school students to practice leadership skills, conduct activity sessions, and engage experientially in ethical issues in the field. The class engages actively in some of the key issues in the field, such as accreditation and certification, ethical concerns in group management, the use of wilderness, and risk management. Assignments include regular written reflections on the reading material, a formal essay, several in-class presentations and leadership experiences, and work with the elementary school after-school program.

Foundations of Outdoor Education Syllabus

Spring 2013


Instructor:                               Anne Morse             

Prerequisite:                            SS 105 or permission of instructor

Lab Fee                                   $150 for conference fees

Texts to Purchase:

Adventure Programming- Miles & Priest

The Tao of Leadership- Heider

Sterling College Handbook for Outdoor Travel and Education

Supplementary Readings        

Adventure Curriculum for Physical Education- Panicucci

Philosophical Issues in Adventure Education- Wurdinger Controversial Issues in Adventure Education Wurdinger

The Theory and Practice of Experiential Education-Warren

Women’s Voices in Experiential Education- Warren              

Ethical Issues in Experiential Education- Hunt

Ecopsychology; Restoring the Earth, Healing the Mind- Roszak, et al (eds.)

Risk Mgmt for Outdoor Leaders-Leemon & Schimelpfenig

Selected resources on games and activities



This class will meet in classroom and outdoor settings for discussion, presentations, and activities.  The class includes experiential components for exploration and application of concepts, including weekly student-led outdoor activity sessions.  Students will discuss controversial issues in the field, meet regularly with local elementary and middle school students to practice leadership skills, conduct activity sessions, and engage experientially in ethical issues in the field.  Assignments will include regular written reflections, a formal essay, and several in-class presentations.

Course Objectives:                

To develop familiarity with the history and theories of the field of Outdoor Education.  To become familiar with leadership theory and begin to explore the practice of leadership.  To explore the range of applications of outdoor education.  To become familiar with, engaged in, and knowledgeable about some of the major issues in the field of outdoor education, including the use of wilderness, accreditation, ethical concerns in group management, and safety and risk management


Portfolio (15%)

Class facilitation (20%)

Games and Tao (5%)

Reflective Essay (10%)

After School Program Co-leadership OR

7th Grade Science Enrichment Program (30%)

Participation in AEE Northeast Regional Conference (20%)


Course Content:                     

Students will participate in class discussions and hear presentations on leadership theory, history and theories of outdoor education, and major ethical issues in the field.  Regular lab experiences will provide the setting for applying and integrating theory with practice.  Application of concepts will also take place in special assignments, in which students will meet regularly with local elementary and middle school students, to facilitate adventure experiences.

Learning Styles:                      

I am aware that students bring a variety of learning styles to class.  I do my best to address a variety of learning modes; please let me know if certain styles of teaching are not working for you and I can adapt the class accordingly.   If you have learning style needs or a documented learning disability, please check in with Leland Peterson, Sterling College Learning Disabilities Support Person.  Leland can help you determine what accommodations would be helpful for you in this course.

Attendance Policy                  

If you must miss a class I expect you to contact me beforehand, and set up a meeting after the class to make up for what you missed.  Since much of this class is experiential and interactive, you will only be able to minimally make up for missed classes.  Any unexcused absence will result in your losing half a letter grade from your final grade.  Any absences compromise the work we are able to do as a class and may result in your failing the course. 

Required Weekend:   April 5-7 Northeast Regional AEE Conference