Frequently Asked Questions for Instructors
What is community service learning?
Service learning is an experiential pedagogy that creates an exciting learning experience for students by integrating community service with academic course work. Students serving at local non-profits and schools help meet real community needs while receiving "real life" experiences related to their course content. Service-learning activities inform, clarify, illustrate and stimulate thoughts about classroom topics, as well as encourage students to develop or strengthen a habit of service and social responsibility to the community.
What courses can have service learning components?
There are service learning courses in the College of Arts and Science, Business, and Education. From first year undergraduates to graduate students, service learning can be integrated into most courses. The Academic Senate considers a course to be a service learning course if the community service component relates to the academic learning objectives of the course, is integrated with the academic content through reflection, and accounts for no less than 15% of the course grade.
Does observation or data collection count as service learning activities?
To qualify as service learning, student activities must meet a community-identified need and not just the good of the student's learning. Unless the community directly benefits from the student's observation or the data collection, these activities do not constitute service learning activities.
How is service learning different from volunteerism and internships?
While volunteerism is geared toward the advantage of the community, community service learning also requires that the student reflect on and learn from the service being performed. Thus, the student as well as the community receives the "benefits" of the activity (Furco 1996).
And internships? And Service Learning?
While internships or field placements tend to focus solely on student learning, community service learning emphasizes the advantages to both the student and the recipient of the service activity (Furco 1996). Service learning focuses on both the service the community needs and the instructor's learning objectives: both the community needs and the student's learning needs are met.
Why should I incorporate service learning into my curriculum?
* Many students learn better through concrete experiences
* Students' stimulation creates livelier classroom discussions
* Student learning is deeper and more well rounded
* There are great opportunities for research and collaboration
* There are many publishing and presenting opportunities
* The OCSL hosts free workshops and training for service learning faculty
* The OCSL can provide you with books, articles, sample syllabi and other resources on service learning
How do I get started?
Simply call the Office of Civic Engagement at 750-4055 and speak with Bianca Mothe, Service Learning Faculty Director, (firstname.lastname@example.org) about integrating service learning and/or civic engagement into your course or contact Val Knox, Service Partner Liaison, (email@example.com) to discuss possible community partners.