Recreation, Parks and Tourism 331

RCPT 331: Outdoor Living Skills

Prerequisites: Major in RCPT or OURL minor

Credit Hours: (3) Three hours lecture/laboratory

Lab and field experiences in camping, backpacking, and orienteering. An emphasis is placed on environmental ethics, education, and philosophy. Field trips required.


Detailed Description of the Content of the Course

Students will cover the following outdoor living skills: hiking, camping, backpacking, survival techniques, map and compass (orienteering), leave no trace techniques, the care, repair and maintenance of camping/backpacking equipment, mountain ecology, individual and group safety, group dynamics, accessibility, the variety and types of outdoor resources, and the leadership and programming of outdoor living skills.

Students will have the opportunity to hike, camp and/or backpack in a variety of outdoor settings, particularly the national forest, and national recreation and wilderness areas which enclose or contain sections of the Appalachian Trail within Virginia. Given interest, bike and canoe/camping trips are offered on a voluntary basis.


Detailed Description of the Conduct of the Course

An interdisciplinary and environmental approach to outdoor living skills has been incorporated into this course. Students will learn the technical skills of outdoor living, as well as the facilitation skills necessary for effective group functioning. This approach also emphasizes the no-trace or wilderness ethic: that is, how to travel in the outdoors while minimizing or eliminating physical impact on the environment. In addition, the experiential learning cycle/model is integrated into this course, particularly regarding field trips. The basic components of this model are goal-setting, the processing or debriefing of field trips, the "full-value" contract to establish and maintain safe norms for the group, challenge by choice, and the conscious transfer of learning from field trips to school and home. Lastly, field trips are sequenced after the semester to be more challenging in terms of physical vigor, as well as adaptation regarding cold-weather camping.

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


Goals and Objectives of the Course

At the end of the course, the student will be able to:


1. Plan and implement an overnight wilderness backpacking trip.
2. Apply the basic techniques and skills of leave-no-trace or minimum-impact camping and backpacking.
3. Identify the management problems and environmental issues facing managers of resource lands.
4. Perform the necessary adaptations and modifications to facilitate accessible camping and backpacking.
5. Demonstrate the proper care, repair, and maintenance of camping and backpacking equipment.


Assessment Measures

Assessment is based upon grades for three exams, attendance, assigned homework, in-class writing assignments, quizzes, the demonstration of lab competencies, and the demonstration of the basic skills of hiking, camping, backpacking, and orienteering.


Other Course Information

1). The safety standards and guidelines for the adventure 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, and the National Center for Outdoor Ethics.
2). FIELD TRIPS: All Radford University rules/policies apply to all field trips. NO ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES PERMITTED on trips.
3). Student will be briefed about specific policies/procedures appropriate to each lab/field trip. It is essential to the safety and quality of these adventure experiences that all policies/ procedures/rules discussed prior to and/or during the adventure activity be adhered to by all participants.


Review and Approval

November 2005 Reviewed Susan R. Van Patten, Curriculum Chair

June 20, 2015