Seven Steps To Service-Learning: A Practical Approach To Course Design Dr. Maureen Rubin California State University, Northridge firstname.lastname@example.org
Who is here? • Please let me know if you are faculty or staff and either what you are teaching or what your position is at the University. • Tell me one thing you would like to explore at today’s webinar. • This will help me tailor my presentation to what the audience wants me to cover (to the maximum extent possible in a prepared webinar!)
Goals for Today • Understand what service-learning is. • Explain benefits and challenges. • Design a course. • Give overview of recent changes.
What is Service-Learning? Federal Definition Service-learning is an education and youth development strategy that connects learningobjectiveswith meaningful service to the community. Students build civic, leadership, and academic skillswhile strengthening communities through service. (Corporation for National and Community Service)
Highly Individualized Pedagogy • What are your student learning objectives? • What skills do you want to develop? • The answer to these two questions should be foremost in your mind throughout this webinar.
College students like it! (It’s real life application of classroom concepts.) “Our new President is setting an example for a new generation of young Americans to share responsibility for addressing our nation’s serious issues.” Los Angeles Times (2009)
Many great projects are happening Examples of college students accepting that responsibility abound: • Restoring communities post-Hurricane Sandy • Rebuilding New Orleans after Katrina • Oil spill clean-ups • National Days and Summers of Service • Mentoring programs to curb drop-out rates • Thousands of state and local initiatives
Have students always done service-learning? • No!Throughout their history, many universities were criticized for being disconnected ivory towers marked by an aloof lack of concern with or interest in the communities where they are located. • What caused the change? The CarnagieFoundation’s 1987 report College: The Undergraduate Experience in America decries the lack of connection between campuses and the real world by noting a pervasive sense of parochialism and intellectual and social isolation that “reduces the effectiveness of the college and limits the vision of the student.” Boyer, Community Education Journal, October 1987
Boyer’s work is just as relevant now as it was nearly 25 years ago. Boyer supports the scholarship of application, that it is concerned with questions such as: • How can knowledge be responsibly applied to consequential problems? • How can it be helpful to individuals as well as institutions? • Can social problems themselves define an agenda for scholarly investigation? Boyer, Scholarship Reconsidered, 1990
Universities Do Not Live by Research Alone "Throughout the country, educators and their critics are renewing the old debate over the faculty's preoccupation with research and its effects on the quality of teaching. On one campus after another, there are stirrings that seem to presage a willingness to think afresh about the criteria that determine tenure and measure the success of faculty careers.—” Derek Bok, Harvard University And California Governor Jerry Brown just made the same points in this 2013 Budget Address. We have learned that research and community service-learning are very compatible. Faculty can publish what they do.
Research Shows Service-Learning Works • Personal Outcomes - Identity, spiritual growth. moral and interpersonal development, ability to work with others, leadership and communication skills • Social Outcomes - Reducing stereotypes, facilitating cultural and racial understanding, more social responsibility and citizenship skills, increased commitment to service and involvement in community service after graduation. • Career Outcomes - Contributes to career development and choice of majors, which aids in student retention.
Research Shows Service-Learning Works • Academic Learning – Mixed impact. Doesn’t improve grades or GPA, but does improve complexity of understanding, problem analysis, critical thinking and cognitive development. • Service-learning has been identified as one of five high impact practices in a landmark 2010 study by the American Association of Colleges and Universities. • And its impact extends to post-college. • Many other studies are available on impact from the National Service-Learning Clearinghouse:http://www.servicelearning.org/
Service-Learning 101 • Definitions • Volunteerism • Community Service • Internships/Practicum • Field Work • Civic Engagement • Community Service-Learning
Volunteerism-Describes people, who of their own free will and without pay, perform service or do good work. This can be done on a regular or sporadic basis with community groups, faith-based organizations, political parties, etc. Community Service - Organized volunteering designed to meet the needs of the community. Most often through non-profit organizations, schools or public agencies. Can be court-ordered, so some may think it’s a punishment. Internships/Practicum- Capstone academic experience through which students implement material covered in a series of classes. Field Work- Depending on discipline, refers to class-related experiences in clinical or natural settings. Often required for licensing or credential. Civic Engagement - A commitment to activelearning, developing student awareness of civic responsibility, and addressing social and economic needs defined by the larger community.
Community Service-Learning Academic study linked to community service through structured reflection so that each reinforces the other. The academic study may be in any discipline or combination of fields. The community service may be direct service to people in need community outreach and education, research or policy analysis.
Sound good? Let’s design a course! 7 simple steps • Define student learning outcomes • Define scholarship outcomes • Plan community collaboration • Design the course • Prepare logistics and forms • Reflect, analyze, deliver • Assess your results
Define Student Learning Outcomes (SLO’s) • Primary Goal • Understanding of Course Content • Value Added Goals • Understanding Related Societal/Professional Issues • Awareness of and Involvement with Community • Commitment to Service • Career Development • Self-awareness, Sensitivity to Diversity, Sense of Ownership • Improved Communication and Critical Thinking Skills • Leadership, Values, Taking Responsibility, Perseverance What value added goal are you trying to achieve? Type in: (1) what course you teach and (2) what your value added goal is.
Let’s Try One • Primary Goal • Understanding of Course Content – Service-learning project always advances this goal, but the pedagogy and service experiences change depending on the other value-added student learning outcomes, level of course, and how it fits into departmental assessment plans. Value-Added Goal • Example -Understanding Related Societal/Professional Issues. Let’s use accounting majors. They can tie their service to current events and policy issues that reflect social justice.
How will it work for different disciplines? • Accounting, finance and business students can help seniors and low-income community members complete tax forms and analyze how pending bills and current events such as the “fiscal cliff” will affect them. • Social science students can compare how varying tax policies will affect the non-profit agencies they serve.
How will it work for different disciplines? • Art, music and theatre students can research effects of government budgets on donations and write fundraising appeals. • Science students can compare grant guidelines and help write grants. What you teach will define the s-l experience. Let’s do one of yours.
Define Scholarship Outcomes • What messages are being sent about how your institution values service? • Developmental Model – Junior faculty should devote early years to establishing teaching and research expertise that will become the basis for service later in their careers. • Perpetual model – Service is valued and expected throughout the professional career and is a responsibility equal to research and teaching (Stanton, Giles and Cruz, 1999).
Some Good Questions To Ask • Are non-traditional teaching and learning practices valued at your institution? • Are there proper evaluation tools for non-traditional practices? • What types of service-learning related research will be acceptable? • Only discipline-based? • Pedagogical? • Both? • What other forms of the “scholarship of service” will be rewarded? BOTTOM LINE: Learn the culture of your institution.
A Scholarship Example • Identify problem with community partner • Develop a question • Select a research design • Have students gather data while they are performing service • Data will allow submission to both discipline-based and pedagogical journals • The case of the senior wheeler-dealers! Romack, J. L. (2004). Increasing physical activity in nursing home residents using student power, not dollars. Educational Gerontology, 30(1), 21-38.
Plan Community Collaboration • Why join a partnership? • What makes a good partnership? • Don’t’ ever say “We’re from the University and we know what you need…” • Designing the partnership? • Role-playing exercise • Follow up with visits including faculty member • Complete forms • Decide logistics
What makes a good partnership? Honoring the role of the community as co-educators and their support in providing students with professional skills. Recognizing community voices in defining needs, faculty expertise in developing projects to address defined needs, and students' voices in implementing community learning projects. Cal State Northridge Center for Community Engagement http://www.csun.edu/csl/
Meet Your Potential Partner • Faculty need to go to explain their student learning outcomes. Partner needs to know that service-learning students are not the same as other volunteers. • Is it a good match? • If yes, talk logistics • Dates, available hours, how many students can site handle?, total hours per student?, are any tests necessary (TB, fingerprints, etc.) • Site procedures – check in, tracking hours, parking or public transportation, clothing, supervision, communication, work site features, should they bring anything?
Plan Orientation • First introduction. Make it a good one: upbeat, informative and appreciative. • Thorough (mission, history, population, programs and services) • Define expectations and open lines of communication. Exchange contact information and complete necessary forms • Tell students what they will learn. • Give them a tour and introduce them to staff.
Cover Rules & Regulations • Cover relevant policies and procedures. • Review safety rules and accident procedures. • Review confidentiality and other legal rules. • Discuss supervision.
Cover Rules & Regulations • Tell students what their responsibilities will be and what the staff responsibilities are. • Tell students your expectations re: attendance, hours, professional conduct, job descriptions, training, evaluation process. • Create specific schedules, make-ups, school vacations, recording hours. • Tell partners to write it all down.
Sample Responsibilities Information • Show respect for your site. • Conduct yourself in a professional manner. Never report while under the influence. • Be punctual, responsible and courteous. • Wear appropriate attire. • Never loan money or personal belongings to clients. • Never give clients rides. • Never tolerate any form of sexual harassment. • Be cautious about email, Facebook, etc. • Never make promises you might not be able to deliver. • Ask for help when in doubt. • Respect the privacy of clients.
Design the Course Many models available • “Engaged departments” develop 4 or 5-year (graduate students) plans to integrate service with department/ college goals for student learning at each level. • Service projects reflect appropriate levels of responsibility and ownership for students' status.
Design the Course • Freshmen will learn skill sets and build on them each year. Senior capstone courses allow seniors much more independence. • Students can be placed all together simultaneously, at different pre-screened sites, or at a site they choose individually • Without department plan, use your judgment.
Create a “Learning Agreement” • Student must complete it, sign it and give it to the site supervisor to sign. • Students should clearly state what they want to learn from the experience. To do this, students should review their class syllabus and determine how course content can be used at service-learning site. • Students should also explain why they chose the site, if appropriate. • Students should meet with supervisors to carefully decide the nature of the service activities. These should be designed to help students meet their learning objectives. • Students should acknowledge and agree to abide by the outlined responsibilities.
What is reflection? • Planned activities designed to help students process their service experience in a thoughtful manner. • Integrates service into the heart of the course to promote desired learning outcomes. • The “glue” that ties the learning to the service. • Dynamic process that involves critical thinking, analysis, evaluation, problem solving, mediation and reasoning.
Why is it done? • Helps students understand the “big picture” re: • Proper role of the university • Their own lives • Understanding others • Understanding their roles as citizens • Professional requirement for adaptability in the workplace • Lifelong learning and openness to new information • Without reflection, it’s not service-learning
When is it done? • Must be continuous (before, during and after service), connected, and challenging (ask the HARD questions- challenge beliefs, assumptions and expectations). • Must permeate the service experience. • Must be extensive - modest levels don’t work. • Must be guided by professor, but students can help design. • Must receive feedback throughout the semester, not just at the end. See: Eyler, Janet, Creating your reflection map: http://blogs.ubc.ca/csl2/files/2009/05/eyler-reflection-map.pdf
How is it done? Through specific activities designed to assist the student in processing the service-learning experience
How is it done? • Many, many paths • Journals (email is more convenient) • Think pieces and creative expression (make plays or videos, photo exhibits, art projects, write a letter to yourself at start, write songs or poems, letter to the editor or to director of government agency or corporation, design a website )
How is it done? • Role playing • Writing assignments • Assignments that link to learning styles • Problem-solving exercises • Deliverables • Creating community displays
Structured Reflection Journals • Journals that pose different questions throughout the semester • Journals that pose the same questions after each session • Journals mixed with mini-analysis papers • Journals tied to lecture and reading • Interactive journals with classmates or community partners using technology • Groups journals in accessible places such as online chatrooms, Facebook, etc.
Think Pieces & Creative Expression • Not the same as the deliverable • Write a play • Write a letter to yourself, seal it, leave it with instructor; at semester’s end reread it and write about change • Make a video • Write a poem or song • Compose a travelogue • Write a letter to the editor • Take photos • Draw or paint a scene • Design a website
Role Play • Bring a community partner to class and have them create or reenact a typical or challenging service experience • Divide students into groups and have each one act out a different roles played by various populations involved in service experience (e.g. service-recipients, agency staff, professor, government agency, student etc.)
Sample Writing Assignments • Community commentary • Describe a scene in the community • What story does it tell? • What does it say about the community? • What does this scene mean to you and why? • If the scene were a painting, what title would you give it? • Interpret quotes • “A cynical young person is almost the saddest sight to see because it means that he or she has gone from knowing nothing to believing in nothing.” --Maya Angelou
Integrating Reflection & Research • Reflection tools ARE data collection instruments. • So are interviews, surveys, participant observations, document analyses and analyses of visuals • Software can analyze qualitative data by searching for keywords and developing themes. • Particularly useful when writing for pedagogical journals