(Frequently Asked Questions)
1. How will service-learning benefit my students?
2. How does service-learning benefit faculty?
Faculty can benefit personally and professionally from integrating service-learning into their courses. Teaching with service-learning can:
3. How does service-learning compare to other community-based experiences?
Service-learning is distinct from other community-based experiences with respect to the beneficiary and the focus of the experience. Both student and community partner benefit from the service-learning experience. The focus of a service-learning project is on
4. Does service-learning work in introductory and lower-level courses?
Students at any level can have successful and rich service-learning experiences. The key is to develop service-learning experiences where students are given levels of responsibility that are appropriate to their skill levels. The USI Service-Learning Program can help you identify community opportunities that will enhance the learning experiences of your students.
5. How do I make sure service-learning is well integrated into my class?
Reflection assignments are the most effective way to integrate service-learning into your course. Reflection assignments help students make connections between their community work and the course content.
Also, when we have asked students at the end of each semester how service-learning could have been better integrated into their class, a common response is that more time could have been spent in class discussing students’ experiences in the community. Thus, we strongly encourage you to keep this in mind as you plan your course. Whether service-learning is required for all your students or an option that only some students pursue, think about the ways they could learn from each other through class discussions.
6. What information should I include in my syllabus about the service-learning project?
We suggest including a statement about service-learning and the importance of the reflective component of the project.
Example: Service learning aims to enhance academic learning by challenging students to apply classroom knowledge to real-life situations.
Reflection is the intentional component that takes a service activity and makes it a service-learning project. This is achieved by tying a reflective assignment to service-learning outcomes (see Tool-kit for examples of reflection assignments).
In addition, it is recommended that you include in your syllabus
(FAQ's 2, 4, 5, and 6 adapted from: FACULTY AND INSTRUCTORS’ GUIDE TO SERVICE-LEARNING; Community Service-Learning Center; University of Minnesota, pp. 7-9)