FACULTY can benefit personally and professionally from integrating service-learning into courses. Teaching with service-learning can:
- - Encourage interactive teaching methods and reciprocal learning between students and faculty
- - Add new insights and dimensions to class discussions
- - Lead to new avenues for research and publication
- - Promote students' active learning; engage students with different learning styles
- - Help students achieve the Eastfield College's undergraduate learning and development outcomes
- - Develop students' civic and leadership skills
- - Boost course enrollment by attracting highly motivated and engaged students
- - Provide networking opportunities with engaged faculty in other disciplines
- - Foster relationships between faculty and community organizations, which can open other opportunities for collaborative work
- - Provide firsthand knowledge of community issues; provide opportunities to be more involved in community issues
How to incorporate SL in your syllabus
Individual student projects
You may offer Service Learning to students on an individual basis by encouraging them to seek a service site from the list of available agencies or choosing their own site with your approval. You may require all your students to participate, provide extra credit to those who choose to engage in Service Learning, or accept Service Learning participation as a lieu of a different assignment (instead of a research project, for example). However, it is important that students engage in service related to their classroom learning and that they complete reflection assignments.
Students may participate in small groups or as an entire class. This type of project works well with a specified community partner and with precise student learning outcomes.
On-going service programs
Professors may establish on-going partnerships with partner agencies in which students from a particular course participate each semester. For example, an environmental geology course may include an assignment that involves testing the mineral content in streams and ponds for local parks.
Selecting community partners
Before selecting agency partners for their students, professors should consider the learning outcomes for their courses. Selection of agencies and/or projects should be based on learning outcomes. A Service-Learning Course Development Worksheet is available in Service Learning Forms under Faculty Forms/Resources. Service activities should be appropriate for course objectives.
Through the reflection process, students demonstrate understanding of the connection between classroom learning and the service project. Reflection should be more than a mere narrative of the service experience; it should involve critical thinking about the service activity and analysis of the relationship between the service and course content. Student reflection should enable students to enhance their civic engagement skills, examine their values, and find personal relevance in the service. Reflection should:
- Be based on the learning outcomes established before the service began.
- Take place before, during, and after the service activities.
- Be a thoughtfully constructed process that challenges and guides student thinking
- Connect the service work with coursework
- Help students gain a deeper understanding of course material
- Encourage the development of civic responsibility and citizenship awareness
- Enable students to find relevance in the work
Types of Reflection
Refection can take many forms:
- ePortfolio: Students may create and document evidence of accomplishments and learning outcomes in an ePortfolio. This evidence may include papers, problem analysis, project outlines, annotated bibliography, and other documentation.
- Journal: Students may record thoughts, feelings, observations, and questions about their service experiences. Journals may be structured according to instructor requirements or may be unstructured. Students should begin keeping their journals as their service begins and should make frequent entries so they can track their learning process. Journaling provides for enhanced observation skills, exploration of emotions, documentation of learning experience, and improved communication skills. Faculty should provide feedback by responding to journals or guiding students in the content of their journals.
- Team journal: Students working on a group service project may keep a group journal, either in a traditional format or online in a discussion group. This type of reflection activity allows students to share and observe different perspectives on a service project. Students and their faculty may decide how often each group member must make entries.
- Paper: Professors may assign an essay or research project in which students describe their service activities. Students should describe the service project, show connection of the service to course objectives, and demonstrate achievement of learning outcomes.
- Class Presentation: Students may prepare a presentation that describes to classmates the service experience and demonstrates what they learned.
Assessing learning/civic engagement
The form of reflection and the specific desired outcomes will determine how a service learning experience is evaluated. Students should demonstrate their learning in the reflection assignment. Therefore, creating and clarifying student outcomes and designing appropriate reflection activities are critical to the service learning process.