A sociology class works with a local Community Action Agency to develop a comprehensive case management process. An urban planning class helps a city create a new design for a right-of-way. A medical class serves to give free physicals at a local community center.
You may think that these college students are bleeding heart liberals, and feel that it is their utmost duty to give back to the community. And I am sure that you may not be wrong, but more importantly, the aforementioned is a portion of their university curriculum, getting them ever so closer to them having a diploma in hand.
And how do you accomplish this?
Step I: Take Steps to Appropriately Incorporate Service Learning Into Your Coursework.
- What do you want your students to get out of the experience?
- What ways of teaching align with the aforementioned?
Step II: Look At Your Learning Outcomes.
- Determine duration and frequency adequate to fall in line with learning objectives
- Can anything outside of service opportunities compliment learning?
Step III: Engage With Community; Developing Solid Partnerships
- Who will you align?
- Who will take the leading in forging relationships?
- What number of students is needed to make the project work?
Step IV: Establish Measurements of Evaluation
- What do you want the student to learn from the experience?
- How many times during the term do you check student’s learning?
- Will your community partner have a role in evaluation?
Step V: Develop a Concise Outline of Study
- Make a syllabus narrative for your community partners.
- Keep all parties in the know pertaining to the syllabus.
- Revise the syllabus as needed.
Step VI: Develop a Management Plan
- Figure out the What, When and How.
- Have you addressed any barriers that may hinder your students’ success?
- Can you leverage any established programs at your college or university to assist your efforts?
Using service learning as a way to engage your community is an effective teaching strategy designed to develop responsible and community oriented young adults, increase the interaction that faculty have with students, and contribute to the students’ over all development. What makes the aforementioned process unique is that it takes a step away from the traditional, class-laden coursework and it calls for the student to actually participate in the learning process; associating real life obstacles in a different way.