What is community engagement?
Service-learning defined community engagement is the collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity.
What is curricular engagement?
Curricular engagement includes institutions where teaching, learning, and scholarship engage faculty, students, and community in mutually beneficial and respectful collaboration. Their interactions address community-identified needs, deepen students’ civic and academic learning, enhance community well-being, and enrich the scholarship of the institution.
What is service-learning?
Service-Learning is a structured learning experience that combines community service with preparation and reflection. Students engaged in service-learning provide community service in response to community-identified concerns and learn about the context in which service is provided, the connection between their service and their academic coursework, and their role as community members.
What is the difference between community service and volunteering?
Volunteering focuses on the benefits to the service recipients. The students receive some benefits by learning more about how their service makes a difference in the lives of the service recipients, but there are no specific learning objectives. Service-learning is integrated into and enhances the academic curriculum of students engaged in service, or the educational components of the community service program in which the participants are enrolled. Service-learning provides structured time for thoughtful planning of the service project and guided reflection by participants on the service experience. Overall, the most important feature of effective service-learning programs is that both learning and service are emphasized.
Is service-learning a new idea?
The practice of service-learning dates back much further than the term itself, beginning with educational movements and social change in the late 1880s. The intellectual foundations of service-learning in the United States trace back to the early 1900s with the work of John Dewey, William James, and others who promoted models of “learning by doing,” and linked service to personal and social development. The term “service-learning” was coined by two educators in 1967 to describe the combination of conscious educational growth with the accomplishment of certain tasks that meet genuine human needs.
How do I start a service learning project?
There are several resources to help you investigate and start a service-learning project. OU’s Program for Instructional Innovation in the Center for Teaching Excellence assists teaching faculty and organizational units to provide educational programs of the highest possible quality and would be a good place to start.
For resources to help design your service learning course.
Principles of Good Practice for Service-Learning Pedagogy
- Academic credit is for learning, not for service.
- Do not compromise academic rigor.
- Establish learning objectives.
- Establish criteria for the selection of service placements.
- Provide educationally sound learning strategies to harvest community learning and realize course learning objectives.
- Prepare students for learning from the community.
- Minimize the distinction between the students’ community learning role and classroom learning role.
- Rethink the faculty instructional role.
- Be prepared for variation in, and some loss of control of, student learning outcomes.
- Maximize the community responsibility orientation of the course.
[Howard, J., Service-Learning Course Design Workbook, 2001, pp. 16-19].