Educational Participation In the Community (EPIC) is a course (ED 150) designed to interweave in-class seminar sessions and field experiences for students who are considering a career in education. Students typically enroll in ED 150 early in their academic careers. As one of the admissions requirements for formal admittance into the Washburn University professional education program, students must complete an EPIC Experience in an urban school setting.

Throughout the semester, EPIC students attend required seminars to share educational ideas, collaborate with peers, participate in activities, and reflected on experiences. One major element of the course is for students to receive information about the Education Program and gain an understanding of a career in education. During class sessions, confidentiality is obtained whenever possible. Classroom incidents are not to be described to other EPIC students in a manner that would allow identification of the individuals involved. Classroom incidents and learning situations are discussed in seminars because the various pedagogical techniques, observed throughout an EPIC experience, are vital to increase understanding of educational issues.

Another major element of ED 150 is for EPIC students to participate in classroom-based field experiences. School placements are made based on the student‘s major, grade level and subject area preferences by the Director of Student Field Experiences. EPIC field experiences are not practicums or methods-based field experiences. Instead, EPIC students observe teachers provide instruction and manage a classroom, though it is preferred students get opportunities to interact with teachers and students on occasion by completing tasks and monitoring students. A list of possible tasks EPIC students could complete while in the classroom is on page 11 of the EPIC Handbook. After observing in the classroom, the EPIC students are expected to journal about their field experiences.

Outcomes for the EPIC Experience focus on helping students demonstrate an understanding of the teaching profession. Sometimes a student believes a career in education is best after completion of the course, while some students decide the profession is not one for them, though they show a respect for teachers and the field of teaching. During ED 150, measurement of learning outcomes occurs when the course instructor evaluates the EPIC student’s reflections of field experiences, then provides a summary of the classroom demographics and description of teacher instructional strategies.

The EPIC Experience provides a student with the following:
  1. A basis for exploring what is involved in teaching and a career in education.
  2. An episode for determining whether he/she is suited for the teaching profession.
  3. A solid and varied set of early field experiences which students may refer to later in higher level methods coursework.
  4. An experience in an urban setting for observing students and working with a teacher who is considered a high quality teaching model.
  5. An insightful look into the challenges of teaching in a diverse classroom.
  6. An experience in observing and working in a multicultural setting.
  7. A foundation for reflective teaching through journals and other written assignments.