Great opportunity, Kelly!
I don't know as I'll be able to explain what I'm thinking very well but I'd stay away from the tactical stuff early in the course. I wouldn't talk about "Rick's" anything nor narrow the focus to Europe. Spend some time over on Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree (and I'd highly advise spending some time browsing that one + Nomadic Matt) and you'll run into tons of young people headed to Asia, Australia, South America and Africa. A lot of these destinations are more affordable and/or offer the sorts of adventure travel a lot of travel college kids seem to be looking for.
That said, I think part of the education is (a) choosing destinations that are good matches with personal interests, and (b) developing a personal STYLE they are most comfortable with + suits their budget. Nothing bugs me more than the poster whom has already bought plane tickets but hasn't a clue what they should do/see when they get there? That's the interest piece: choosing locations that offer what turns you on, be it a party trip at a beach resort in Bali, an archeological crawl through Giza, hiking to Everest base camp, Wwoofing an organic farm in Australia, an art odyssey in Italy, etc.
Next is the style piece: figuring out what sorts of conditions you can or cannot live with to make the trip a success; what pieces you are most apt to research and which, if any, you don't want to have to deal with. Also what you can or cannot afford. All of this can determine whether you are hostel-bunk material or better suited to nice hotels, prefer indy exploring to tours, packaged deals to DIY itineraries, street food to sit-down gourmet cuisine, cheap public transit to hired cars, etc.
One other consideration - and this does fall under a "Travel as a Political Act" type heading - is dealing with what one might find ethically or morally objectionable in a different country; a willingness or not to try to contextualize why things are the way they are. Doesn't mean one has to condone what is offensive to them, and in some cases, very strong beliefs or legitimate comfort-level issues may necessitate different styles of travel than one might otherwise choose or different choices altogether. A member of the LGBT community, say, may choose to avoid countries with harsh laws regarding their lifestyle. For safety, women who ordinarily travel solo may choose to explore certain African countries with a tour. Anyway, apt to provoke some lively conversations where human rights or even "green" issues are concerned?
THEN there's the tactical piece: how to research a trip. Like practically anything else, the internet - which is likely to be the first go-to resource - is a minefield of false or outdated, information, self-serving advertising, and nefarious types looking to get their hands on your $$. You could talk about the best methods of cutting through the junk, making effective use of forums, reviews and tourism boards, etc.