The Center for Community-Engaged Teaching and Research

Murphy Building
20 Chatham Square
Pittsburgh, PA 15282
Phone: 412.396.5893
Fax: 412.395.2144

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    Classes, Course Design, & Best Practices

    "Service-learning combines service objectives with learning objectives with the intent that the activity changes both the recipient and the provider of the service. This is accomplished by combining service tasks with structured opportunities that link the task to self-reflection, self-discovery, and the acquisition and comprehension of values, skills, and knowledge content."

    - National Service-Learning Clearinghouse

    These components are regarded as best practices in service-learning course design:

    • Service-learning support centers are accessed to get information on pedagogy, planning processes, and community partner relationships.
    • Learning objectives, enhanced through service experiences, are set. The academic rigor of the course is not compromised.
    • A structural model for the class is chosen.
    • Students do meaningful, academically-related service.
    • Instructors monitor the progress of service.
    • Students analyze their experience, integrate academic content into a community framework, and incorporate the duality of the experience into their world view.
    • Reflection activities are written into the syllabus, structured, and regularly required.
    • Reflection is included pre-service, during service, and post-service.
    • Both the student and community partner benefit from the relationship.
    • Commitment to the community partners is ongoing and valuable.
    • Every entity involved functions as a teacher and a learner. Participants are perceived as colleagues, not as servers and clients.
    • Both students and faculty are recognized for their efforts.
    • This recognition is formal.