Every anthropology class starts with an explanation of anthropology and the fact that there are four main sub-fields in anthropology (i.e. Archaeology, Cultural, Linguistics, Physical.) Each anthropologist specializes in one of these fields. At the beginning of the semester each field is discussed, explained, and students are encouraged to think of examples of each. After understanding the fields, they are asked which of the fields they think they would like best. We do an activity where we move around the room based on answers to questions--where you end up is perhaps your best anthropological bet.
At the end of the semester, one of the last assignments, is for the students to re-visit the four subfields. After spending the semester learning about each of the four they are asked to think again about which one they like best, which one they think they would be best at & if they are now going to change their career path and become anthropologists! (After finding out archaeology isn't like Indiana Jones, most of them are out, although we do get a few converts.)
I love seeing faculty helping students with career plans. This shows students that you care and probably increases your retention and success rates.
I like how the assignment at the end reinforces the activity at the beginning. Do you have a way to quantify if their interests have changed?
This connection to real-life is a great idea for any discipline! Have you thought about bringing in a guest speaker in each of the four areas to expound a little more about it?
Well I am an archaeologist, so that ones covered. ;-) I also work in Cultural so that one's covered. That does leave the other two, which we talk about quite a bit. I will look into it, I'm not sure how many Linguits there are here but I might be able to Skype in a friend.
As for the question of quantifying their results--the only way is that I have them do a thought journal at the beginning and at the end of the semester & have them compare (also through discussion.)
I like the concept of showing student true archeology vs movies. Would second Shannon's comment. Major looking at majors or transfers