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.
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.
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:
Refection can take many forms:
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.