Solution-based learning: Transform your passion into action

July 12, 2022 · 3 min read · By ASU Online
Arizona State University's Watts College designed the solution-based learning requirement to give students hands-on experiences. Read on to learn about one ASU Online criminal justice and criminology student’s experience in the solution-based learning course she chose.

Make an early impact with solution-based learning

At Arizona State University, we believe you can make a difference whether you're in school or working in your field. ASU’s charter refers to “advancing research and discovery of public value; and assuming the fundamental responsibility for the economic, social, cultural and overall health of the communities it serves.” This means addressing the world’s most pressing problems.

For undergraduate students in the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions, serving communities includes a solution-based learning requirement. Students choose and complete an approved solution-based learning course related to a public service issue. Rather than learning concepts through textbooks, solution-based learning courses allow students to gain practical experience through hands-on activities. Approved solution-based learning courses include the Community Solutions Co-op, internships, community impact labs and other opportunities. Your solution-based learning course allows you to make an impact from day one.


How solution-based learning prepared one student to fight domestic violence

We talked with an ASU Online criminal justice and criminology student about her solution-based learning experience. Brenda Melchor knew immediately that she’d focus on ending domestic violence. A survivor herself, Melchor knows the seriousness of this public service issue.

A combination of personal experience and witnessing the current climate of the U.S. criminal justice system sparked Melchor’s passion for criminology. Questions about what factors lead criminals to commit violent acts and how to protect victims and survivors keep her up at night. Inspired by her faculty, Melchor wants to contribute to community solutions on this topic.

“Those educated in criminology and criminal justice have a long history of achieving meaningful breakthroughs, and I want to lead the next generation of breakthroughs,” said Melchor.

Melchor chose a hands-on internship to meet her solution-based learning requirement. Read more about her experience below.

A selfie of ASU Online student Brenda Melchor.
ASU Online student Brenda Melchor

Q: Which solution-based learning course did you take and why?

A: For my solution-based learning course, I completed an internship with the Office of Gender-Based Violence through ASU’s School of Social Work. I pursued this internship because it aligns with my passions. The project involves extracting data on intimate partner violence and homicide cases. The principal investigators will use this data to identify domestic violence risk factors. The end goal is to reduce intimate partner abuse and homicides. 

Q: Can you tell us about your community impact statement?

A: My community impact statement involves accountability within the criminal justice system, and how it handles intimate partner violence. The trend now is ‘if you see something, say something’. With more action, communities can experience less intimate partner violence and homicide incidents.

Q: How does solution-based learning complement your professional goals?

A: Because my solution-based learning topic aligns with my personal passions, it’s helped me understand my goals. I have fantastic instructors who are also the principal investigators on this project. Their passion and knowledge inspire me. I’ve learned about the various directions I can take my own research.

Working alongside my faculty also showed me the importance of answering the research question. Research findings have the potential to affect so many lives. I've realized how important making a difference in the world is to me.

Q: What advice do you have for online students entering a similar program?

A: My advice is to take every class that sparks your interest. Leave your preconceived notions at the door and keep an open mind. Use every opportunity you can to get involved with research projects within Watts College. This is my fourth project, and I look forward to joining more before I graduate. 

My other advice is to soak up all of the information possible. Your professors within Watts College are knowledgeable and want to share what they know with you. You just have to ask.


Solution-based learning as a tool for personalized learning

Exploration is another benefit of solution-based learning and Melchor is proof of that. While her major falls within the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, she was able to complete an internship through the School of Social Work. The solution-based learning requirement allows you to explore your interests and graduate ready to serve the public.

At ASU online, you can expect a personalized experience designed to help you meet your goals. No matter if you choose a public service degree or another area of study, research is underway and there are opportunities for you to get involved.

For more information on solution-based learning courses, contact your academic advisor.

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