Document Type


Publication Date



Meaningful assignments, Ecotourism


The Backwards by Design workshop inspired me to think deeply about how to construct meaningful assignments that would help students learn not only content and knowledge but application and deep understanding. I wanted to create enduring understanding that students would apply in their careers. Tourism can be a tool for social, environmental, and economic justice; however, this is not part of the current tourism industry’s paradigm. Thus, my task is to teach course curriculum through the lens of justice, not capitalism. REC 379 Foundations of Ecotourism is a course about the history, concepts, principles, marketing, and planning of ecotourism. I have taught this course before in a module format where students should learn each concept and how each concept is part of a complex system where one influences the other. In the past, students often failed to understand the complexity of the system and seemed to isolate each concept without placing it within a broader context. In the past, I used tests to help motivate students to study and learn material, however, tests further reinforced the idea that information was to be regurgitated or memorized instead placed within a systems approach. Thus, opportunities are needed for students to integrate and synthesize material in a meaningful way within a new paradigm of social, environmental, and economic justice.