Creating a quality Service-Learning experience
By incorporating service-learning into a course, it does not change what is taught - it changes how it is taught.
Studies within service-learning indicate there are four traits to a quality experience:
- Commitment to the community in which the service is being performed is paramount
- Service-learning should include academic rigor
- Meaningful reflection moves the experience of service-learning from a service opportunity to a learning and service educational opportunity
- Students will begin to learn from this experience an understanding of civic responsibility
Benefits of Service-Learning
- Opportunity to engage in a different teaching pedagogy
- Expand learning beyond the classroom
- Facilitate development of critical thinking, leadership, problem solving and communication skills
- Demonstrate commitment to the community
- Provide an enriched learning experience for students
- Enriched learning experience
- Opportunity to apply academic knowledge to a real-life setting
- Develop a greater awareness of issues facing the local community
- Develop social responsibility and concern for the community
- Enhance leadership ability
- Develop critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills
- Explore possible career interests and develop professional networks
How is service-learning different from other community-based learning experiences?
Service-learning refers to academic courses in which service and learning are balanced. In addition to traditional means of meeting course objectives, objectives are achieved through delivery of service based on defined needs of individuals, communities, or agencies. Faculty, service recipients(s), and students all participate in the learning experience.
Through reflective exercises, this pedagogy strengthens students' understanding of the role they can play in their community.
An internship is a short-term work experience in which students receive training and gain experience in a specific field or career area. An internship can be paid or unpaid and can vary in hours and length. There are several characteristics of an internship, including supervision requirements, credit vs. non-credit bearing, learning goals and student reflection.
A practicum is an on-the-job learning experience designed to hone the skills and competencies of the student. It is a supervised application of studied theories. During a practicum students shadow, observe, and perform tasks under the supervision of their professor.
Clinical/fieldwork placements are required field experiences in the major program that provide a setting for students to apply the knowledge, skills, and attitudes developed in the classroom. The setting for this experience is an environment that facilitates performance for an entry level professional. The focus of the experience is on the development of professional practice by the student.
Community service is a volunteer activity done by individuals or groups that provides personal and professional service to the community.
Getting startedThe first step to embedding service-learning in your course is to meet with service-learning staff to discuss your course content, learning objectives, and the type of service placement you envision will meet your educational goals. Initial discussions with service-learning staff should ideally begin as early as possible.
Contact Louise Keller, Service-Learning Specialist at (570) 674 6203 or firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a meeting.
Download the Misericordia Faculty Service-Learning Guide
Syllabus guide and course criteria
Download MU Service-Learning Course Criteria
Service-learning planning and process guides
Download the IPARD Process guide created by Dr. Christine Moran, Associate Dean of Service-Learning, Stevenson University. The IPARD process outlines five key phases of the service-learning process for student participants.
Download "Tried and True Teaching Methods to Enhance Students' Service-Learning Experience" compiled by Professor Diane Sloan (Miami Dade Community College) and based on the work of Julie Hatcher and Robert Bringle in "Reflection Activities for the College Classroom (Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis)
Download guided reflection question examples
Download Service-Learning Trip Form
Download Student Liability Waiver & Release
Campus Compact is a national higher education association dedicated solely to campus-based civic engagement and a coalition of almost 1,100 Universities and Colleges nationally. Misericordia is a member institution.
National Service-Learning Clearinghouse library of online service-learning resources.
Community Voices: A California Campus Compact Study on Partnerships (April 2007)
Written by: Marie Sandy, Ph.D. Research Team: Elaine K. Ikeda, Ph.D., Nadinne Cruz, M.A., Barbara Holland, Ph.D. , Kathleen Rice, Ph.D. and Marie Sandy, Ph.D.