Service-Learning offers an approach to engaging students in academic success and their community.
What is Service-Learning?
Service-Learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.
Service-Learning curriculum takes advantage of volunteer positions both on- and off-campus. Volunteer responsibilities apply concepts or skills pertinent to course outcomes. Students learn while engaging with the community, and the community benefits from student participation.
How do I start a Service-Learning component in my course?
Initiating a Service-Learning program in your course can seem like a make-over for your syllabus; however, it does not have to be. The basic structure for starting a program for your course includes the following:
Identify Course Objectives:
Identify the concepts or skills integral to your course that could be better taught through real-world, practical experience.
- Writing and Composition for an English Class
- Basic Tax Preparation for an Accounting Class
- Political Systems in Political Science or Sociology
- Ecosystem Health and Biology for Environmental Science
Menu of Volunteering Opportunities:
Faculty members integrate volunteering options into their syllabus (one-time project, quarter-long service, multi-quarter service, etc.) A menu of volunteer options is provided for students, and each reflects the learning outcomes from the course. Bellevue College offers several opportunities for both on- and off-campus volunteering.
Faculty members and the community organizations should have a firm understanding of expectations and responsibilities – meaning organizations should provide guidance to student volunteers on-site, and faculty should provide students with a framework for understanding their volunteer experience. For faculty just initiating Service-Learning in their classes, consider using on-campus volunteer resources
- Office of Sustainability: Create or Research a Sustainability Project
- Office of Sustainability: Volunteer/Intern/Jobs
- Center for Career Connections: Connections to Community Organizations and Internships
- Peer2Peer: Volunteer Opportunities On-Campus
- KBCS: Volunteer Opportunities with College Radio Station
Provide Orientation for Students:
Service-Learning may be a new concept for students. A brief orientation on Service-Learning explains the purpose of incorporating Service-Learning into the course. Additionally, an orientation provides basic information on what it means to be guest or volunteer in a community outside Bellevue College. An orientation does not have to be long or in-depth, but provide students with a basic understanding volunteer service and its incorporation in course work.
Students complete assignments that explain how they apply concepts of the course into their volunteer placement. Assignments could take many forms, including journal entries, articles, essays, posters, websites, or a completed project for a community organization.
- English/Writing: Blog Posts and Social Media for a local non-profit.
- Accounting: Tax form assistance for low-income residents.
- Political Science: Voter registration through local non-profits.
- Environmental Science: Restoration activities for the Cedar River watershed
Last Updated April 8, 2014