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

Department/Professional Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Access Options

Restricted Access Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars


Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

IRB Approval Number (if applicable)