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University of Idaho Student: Welcome to Service-Learning

An introduction to the service-learning experience from the student's perspective.
by UI Service-Learning on 1 October 2012

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Transcript of University of Idaho Student: Welcome to Service-Learning

Introduction to Service-Learning University of Idaho At the University of Idaho we define service-learning as a teaching strategy that integrates course content with meaningful community service.

As a student, you will be participating in organized community service projects that are directly connected to your course objectives. What is
Service-Learning? Service-Learning is one type of experiential learning,
and it differs from other types in several important ways. What Service-Learning is NOT Volunteering Important in student leadership development, and provides an outlet for students to meet community needs.
No weight of credit, or presence of formal, structured, classroom learning.
Focus is on the community need and on co-curricular learning. Provide students with workplace skills, but do not focus on integrating course content and service.
Focus primarily on benefits to the learner.
Do not include structured classroom reflection. Internships/Practicums Service-Learning Integrates course content and service experience.
Allows students, faculty, community partners and community members all to benefit from service experience.
Offers avenue for structured reflection so students can connect service experiences to course content. Students in class using service-learning will participate in a service experience related to the course material.
The service-learning project will address the real need of a community organization.
Reflection activities will help students think critically about course material, community issues, and their civic responsibilities. How Service-Learning Works Moral and ethical growth Why Do Service-Learning? Hands on application connects real-world experience to course content Application of different learning styles Interaction with people of diverse cultures and lifestyles An increased sense of efficacy and social development Practical career preparation Meaningful involvement in the local community What
Service-Learning
Looks Like BUSINESS Students work in teams to complete projects for community partners, managing the project from initiation to completion. “I really enjoyed working with actual sponsors in my community because I could see the results of my work in the end, more so than normal classroom work." BUS 378: Project Management ART CORE 170: Art, Artists and Madness Students paint a mural at a service center for persons with disabilities. “I thought the experience was a great opportunity to help my community and become more aware of those that need help. I feel that too often I live in a bubble and don’t acknowledge the opportunities to make a difference in people’s lives.” NATURAL RESOURCES Students plants native trees to help restore plant and animal habitats in Hawaii, while learning about native Hawaiian culture, economy and traditions. NR 404: Hawaiian Culture and Ecology “This was a great experience that I wish could have lasted longer. Meeting new people and learning a new culture opened my eyes to a broader world. It felt good to do work for people that appreciated us being there.” ARCHITECTURE ARCH 453: Architectural Design V Students develop concepts for an entrepreneurial and retail center for the Nez Perce tribe. “A great opportunity to learn and experience a culture I would otherwise not have the chance to encounter." ENGINEERING Engineering Capstone Project Interdisciplinary student teams work with community partners to develop a prototype that meets the partners’ needs. “Fantastic. The reason I pay money for an education is to gain the skills for employment. It only makes sense that I should be learning the things that I would do at a job.” Before the Project The Service-Learning Process Before you even begin your course, community partners will have met with faculty and clearly defined the needs of their organizations. Your instructor will understand the mission, locale, and clientele of the organization, and have adapted the curriculum to incorporate the service-learning experience. The instructor will define the needs of the course—what are the learning objectives for the student—address student training and clarification of responsibilities. Beginning
the Project You are introduced to the partner agency at the beginning of the project and are given an orientation to the issues being addressed. You and your sponsor discuss the agency's:

History
Mission
Population served
Funding
Governance
Programs/services/issue-based-activities
Chain of authority
Policies/customs/dress code You and your sponsor discuss your expectations:

Your role
The course syllabus
Timeline of the project
Potential challenges
Communication with the sponsor
Tardiness/Absences
Evaluation Call during business hours and send an e-mail.
If you don't hear back within 3 business days, call and e-mail them again.
Remember to leave your full name and a reliable way of getting hold of you.
Don't just send an e-mail and wait two week before you try again.
Keep up with phone call and e-mails every couple of days until you get in touch. Contacting Your Sponsor During the Project The service-learning experiences will vary based on individual courses and the different projects within them.
The only surety in each is reflection. Throughout the project you will be expected to participate in reflection activities in order to consciously connect your experience to course content. Most reflection will take place in the classroom in the form of presentations, group discussions, written reports, etc. Community partners will also speak with you throughout the duration of your service, addressing the “What, Gut, So What, Now What ” of service-learning. What am I seeing, hearing, feeling, experiencing or contributing?

How do you feel about what you are doing/ the community need that you are addressing?

So, what difference does this make to my education?

Now, what am I going to do with this new knowledge? In your reflection activities, try to connect your experience to:

The concepts you are discussing in class

Assigned readings

Prior coursework and experience

Your own value system

Broader social issues

Local and national government policies

And how you can affect change •With your instructor’s permission, the bullet points above can be used as a rough outline for a written reflection or oral presentation in many classes. “This will take up a lot of my time; I have other classes/a job/etc. too.”

Service-learning classes take time outside of regularly scheduled classes. However, most instructors do not typically exceed 20 hours of outside time in their classes. If the outside work is going to be substantial, instructors will often decrease class time to compensate.

“My placement is not relevant to the course I am taking.”

If you feel that the work you are doing does not relate to the course content, you may want to speak to your instructor to address the problem; sometimes students miss the connection. If both you and the instructor find that the problem cannot be reconciled, it may be possible to switch agencies.

“I don’t feel like I am needed at my service location.”

Students are meant to be utilized for their specific skills, not to do work that volunteers do. If you feel that the project you’ve been given is not contributing to your understand of the course, contact your instructor to address the issue.

“I don’t see how my work is helping the community.”

Sometimes students are placed in direct contact with the communities they will be helping, other times they are not. Some projects do not involve direct service to the community, but that doesn’t mean that your work isn’t contributing. Concerns from Past Students Where will I be serving/can I choose where I serve?
It is up to your instructor to make the connections to community partners. He/she may choose only one partner, or several partners. Whether you will be assigned a location or allowed to choose an organization or site of your own, is the instructor’s decision. FAQ What are the requirements for a service-learning course?
The amount of hours served varies from class to class. In most cases you will not exceed 20 hours of outside service time. However, in more advanced courses you may be expected to commit more time to your project. When will I be doing my service?
The actual project should begin within five weeks of the start of the semester. The number of service hours is decided by your instructor, and you will be expected to work with your community partner to determine when you will be serving your hours throughout the semester. Generally, you should serve a few hours each week so that you can spread out the time commitment, and so that you can come to an understanding of the needs being met by the organization over a longer span of time. Am I expected to be an expert in my project?
While you should be ready to pull from the knowledge you’ve gained in cumulative courses, you are not expected to know everything about your project. Your teacher should prepare you for service before beginning the project, and the community partner is expected to give an orientation upon your first meeting.
http://www.gseis.ucla.edu/heri/PDFs/rhowas.pdf Additional Reading
"How Service Learning Affects Students For more great examples of service-learning projects around the nation, click here: Additional Reading University of Idaho (Annual Report): Portland State University (video): California State University (video): http://bit.ly/eYRL6w http://bit.ly/gwq0BL
If you still have questions, ASK!

Your Instructor

OR (208)885-6121
servicelearning@uidaho.edu Research shows that the retention of course materials and the retention of students is increased by service-learning. http://www.uidaho.edu/servicelearning/annual-reports "I don't see how service-learning is any better/different than other classes."
Service-learning is replacing other teaching methods, essentially living the
research paper instead of writing it. All classes have out-of-class assignments
service-learning is just another example. The Ideal
Service-Learning Student according to community partners Stoecker, Randy and Elizabeth A. Tryon, eds. "The Unheard Voices: Community Organizations and Service-Learning." Temple University Press, 2009. Print Self-motivated; doesn't wait around for instruction Outgoing; works well with a diverse range of people Interested; wants to gain experience and explore new things
Does NOT only care about credit, but is invested in the agency's mission Professional; responsible and organized Knowledgeable; a certain level of applicable skill and experience
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