Scaling Experiential Learning Projects: Meeting Sourcing and Outcome Challenges -- The Business Communication /Foundation Project


  • Deborah Cain Good
  • Timothy F. Ziaukas
  • Christopher McCarrick
  • Robert E. Butter


Experiential learning activities are an important part of the curriculum in many business classes. Just as employers have increasingly demanded that students graduate with “job-ready” skill sets, instructors have developed projects with and for actual clients, focused on “authentic” workplace problems. Unfortunately, most of these projects are single-use and tailored to single classes. Scaling projects for large numbers of students while retaining high-quality standards is rare; even more rare is a project that aligns the student experience with specific needs of an actual client. This paper describes an experience-based learning project by 450 students in a required core business class in the College of Business Administration at the University of Pittsburgh for a start-up operation. The course is “Fundamentals of Business Communication;” the assignment sequence is “The Business Communication/Foundation Project.” This student/client interaction occurred during the fall semester, 2022 (and is continuing during the spring, 2023, term). Preliminary anecdotal and survey data regarding student and client satisfaction are provided, as well as recommendations for replicating a similar large-scale project going forward.