Background: The effectiveness of non-traditional classroom settings is explored. While there is vast research on experiential and active learning, there is little to no research on the unique experience of Sidewalk U, a course offered through EKU’s Honors Program.

Methods: One on one interviews were conducted on previously enrolled Sidewalk U students. Five volunteers offered their time to be interviewed. All participants had been enrolled in the Sidewalk u: NYC class. Questions that were explored evaluated the depth of knowledge relating to the specific class topic of Arts and Disabilities and also learning retention; benefits and drawbacks of the class type; and overall experience.

Results: Three overarching themes emerged from this research: ‘positive aspects of traditional and non-traditional class’ with the subcategories of ‘reason for going’, ‘shifted view of a marginalized population’, ‘outreach to community/ group bonding’; ‘drawbacks of traditional and non-traditional classes’; ‘metacognition’ with a subcategory of ‘effective teaching’. The subcategories proved important enough to include separate from the overarching main themes.

Conclusion: Students gained an increased awareness of themselves, the community, and the topic being discussed. This increased awareness in hand with increased outreach to the community (within the university), created a connectedness throughout the campus, thus further enabling a more effective outreach to other universities to adapt non-traditional classroom settings, such as Sidewalk U.

Semester/Year of Award

Spring 5-8-2017


MaryEllen Thompson

Mentor Professional Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Access Options

Restricted Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Department Name when Degree Awarded

Occupational Therapy

IRB Approval Number (if applicable)