RCPT 317




Instructor:       Mark Wagstaff                        Office Hours:  10:00 – 12:00 daily    

Phone:             831-7724                                 E-mail:             mwagstaff@radford.edu

Office:             139 Waldron Hall                   Class E-mail:   ru-rcpt317-01-fall@radford.edu


Instructor: Anja Whittington


A.        Catalog Entry


            RCPT 317. Adventure Programming (3)

Prerequisites or co-requisites for RCPT majors: RCPT 112 or permission of the chair.

            Semester offered: Fall Only


      Course focuses on the design, implementation and leadership of outdoor leisure pursuits and/or adventure activities and programs. This course involves weekly field experiences where students are required to travel. Three hours required for all RCPT students specializing in the outdoor recreation concentration.


B.        Detailed Description of Content of the Course


In this course students will be introduced to the philosophy, methodology, leadership, programming, and administration of lifetime outdoor leisure pursuits and/or adventure activities. The course is designed to give students the skills and knowledge necessary to teach selected lifetime adventure activities. Students will cover the following topics related to selected adventure activities: technical/activity skills, environmental ethics and issues, individual and group safety, group dynamics, and accessibility. The course includes instructional strategies; the design of instructional units; and teaching progressions related to activity implementation in schools and leisure service agencies. Activities may include the following: climbing (rock outdoors and climbing walls indoors), caving, whitewater canoeing, mountain biking, and whitewater kayaking. Activities will vary depending on access to equipment, weather, and other program issues.


C.                Detailed Description of the Conduct of the Course


The course emphasizes the development of personal activity skills as well as teaching and leading skills.  Instructional time will be divided between lecture/class discussion format and field/skill acquisition experiences.  Demonstrations and instructional videos will be employed to help develop a knowledge base.  Much of the activity time will be spent under directed skill practice, as students are assessed on the fundamental skills for each activity.  Competency-testing and written quizzes and exams will assess student’s knowledge base.


            An interdisciplinary and environmental approach to teaching/leading outdoor leisure pursuits and adventure education/recreation has been incorporated into this course. This approach transcends the distinction between technical skills and facilitation/processing skills. This approach also incorporates an environmental or ecological ethic, an ethic that teaches students both the knowledge of and appreciation for the various environments in which outdoor adventure activities occur.


      In addition, the experiential learning cycle/model is integrated into the various aspects of the course.  The major components of this model are individual and group goal setting, the processing or debriefing of adventure experiences, personal growth contracting (the "full-value" contract), challenge by choice, and the "conscious use of metaphor."  Challenge by choice allows the student to sequence and participate in activities at her/his level of readiness and comfort.


            The methods utilized in this course include most, if not all, of the following: lectures, simulations, case studies, labs, clinics, readings, small and large-group activities and discussions, guest lecturers and trip leaders, slide-tape and video presentations, peer teaching, and field trips.


D.                Course Goals & Objectives


At the completion of the course, each student will be able to:


1.                  Demonstrate the basic activity skills and instructional strategies necessary to teach at least four adventure based activities.

2.         Assist in the leadership, programming and/or administration of adventure programming.

            3.         Explain selected problems and issues facing the managers of resource lands utilized for outdoor adventure activities.

            4.         Identify career opportunities in the outdoor recreation and adventure-programming fields.

            5.         Identify specific adaptations/modifications necessary to make adventure activities accessible.

6.                  State in writing a personal philosophy of outdoor leisure pursuits and/or adventure programming as it relates to personal health and well-being as well as recreation goals.


E.         Assessment Measures


            Assessment is based upon grades for a final exam, assigned homework, research papers, the demonstration of skill competencies, and teaching ability.


F.         Other Course Information


            General Policies and Considerations


1.                  The safety standards and guidelines for the policies, procedures and practices utilized in this course have been formulated through consideration of those provided by the Association for Experiential Education, the American Canoe Association, the American Whitewater Affiliation, the National Speleological Society, and other national professional organizations as appropriate.


2.                  All RU rules and policies apply to ALL adventure field trips/activities. RCPT policies, procedures and practices parallel those of RU Outdoors.


3.                  Outdoor leisure pursuits and/or adventure activities have inherent risks and safety concerns. Specific policies/procedures appropriate to each trip/activity will be provided.  It is essential to the safety and quality of these trips/activities that all policies/procedures discussed prior to and/or during the adventure activity be adhered to by all participants. In case of an injury or emergency, the instructor is to be informed immediately. Do not attempt to render care to an injured student without the consent of the instructor or emergency medical personnel.


4.                  Attire: Students will be required to wear clothing appropriate to class activities. This may include hiking boots, sneakers, shorts, etc. The student will be responsible for providing her/his own camping equipment and other specialized equipment for the class.


            5.         By accepting admission to Radford University, each student makes a commitment to understand, support, and abide by the University Honor Code without compromise or exception. This class will be conducted in exact accordance of the Honor Code. Refer to your Student Handbook for details. Use of drugs and alcohol before or during class will not be tolerated. If a student is deemed unfit to participate in any given class, the instructor may dismiss that student from class and further disciplinary action may be taken.


G.                Course Readings


Technical Skills for Adventure Programming: A Curriculum Guide. (Editors) Mark Wagstaff & Aram Attarian, (2009). Published by Human Kinetics – ISBN-13:978-0-7360-6699-0.


H.        Course Requirements


1.                  Comprehensive Final. Exam covers class materials, readings, papers, lectures, field experiences, et al.

(10% of final grade)


2.                  Weekly assignments and schedule:  Assignments will be given weekly by peer facilitators to prepare and reinforce class content. Due at beginning of class period.

(20% of final grade)


3.                  Philosophy Paper: Develop a two-page (typed, double-spaced) paper on your philosophy of adventure education/recreation. Include in the paper, appropriate definitions, preferred instructional methods, benefits and purpose of adventure activities, and how you might integrate adventure education/recreation into your professional life. Due: November 17th during class.  (15% of final grade)


4.                  Teaching Assignment: Students will be responsible for teaching their respective activities. Using the course text, students will plan, organize, and facilitate class sessions. Student facilitators will also design and distribute learning activities (homework assignments) prior to each class period.  Link to self-evaluation form here.

(20% of final grade)


5.                  Natural Resource Management Issues Research Paper:  Develop a three to four page research paper that discusses natural resource management issues regarding adventure based recreation. October 20th. (%15 of final grade)


6.                  Field Trip: An additional skills field trip is scheduled for October 28th & 29th. This trip is designed as a capstone activity for the boating section of the course. (10% of final grade)


7.                  Outdoor Trip Log: Students will submit trip logs the last day of class (December 8th).  Trip logs include all outdoor experiences both personal and professional. See sample trip logs- Sample 1 and Sample 2    (10% of final grade)



        I.              Attendance and Late Work: 10 points off final grade for each class missed. The instructor will accommodate students with the flu. It is your responsibility to make up any missed work or class notes. Late Assignments: Late work will be accepted. All late work will be penalized 10% per day late.


J.       Course Grading Summary and due dates:


      * Weekly Assignments           20%                             Each class period as assigned

      * Philosophy Paper                 15%                             November 17th

      * Teaching Assignment           20%                             Assigned date

      * Research Paper                     15%                             October 20th 

      * Field Trip                             10%                             October 28th

      * Outdoor Trip Log                10%                             December 8th

      * Final Exam                           10%                             TBA


K.    Click here for class dates, tentative activities and homework assignments  



L.     Class Handouts and Resources

1.      Multiple Intelligences

2.      Class Waiver Form

3.      Medical Form