About Service Learning

What is Service Learning?
A teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and to strengthen communities.  Curriculum includes structured field-based "experiential learning" alongside community partners, which reinforces course learning outcomes.  
Example: An Introduction to Mathematical Ideas Course assigns students to select a nonprofit agency that requires statistical research for program evaluation, public needs assessment, or public relations and support.  Students assist the agency, based on its need in developing a survey tool, organizing and/or conducting the survey, compiling data, or some combination of these tasks. 
How Does Service Learning Differ from Community Service?
Community Service: Any type of volunteer (unpaid) work/service that provides a tangible benefit to the community.  
Example: A group of volunteers partner with their local clean commission to pick up trash along the roadside.  (Incidentally, this could be considered a service learning activity for a course is students, then analyze the trash for various reasons, report on their finding and reflect on the litter problems in that area.)
What is the Criteria for Service Learning? 
Service Learning is a teaching and learning strategy through which students learn and develop by designing, organizing, implementing, evaluating and reflecting on meaningful service experiences:
  • that meet actual community needs;
  • that are coordinated in collaboration with the university and community;
  • that are integrated into the students' academic curriculum; 
  • that provide structured time for thinking about, writing about, analyzing, and discussing what is seen and done in the service learning process; 
  • that enhance what is taught in the classroom by providing opportunities for students to apply knowledge and skills in real life situations in their own communities; 
  • that help foster the development of a sense of caring for others; and 
  • that build a sense of social responsibility and civic understanding. 
                                                  Service Learning Center | Campus Box 5115 | 1000 N. Dixie Ave. Cookeville, TN 38505 | Roaden University Center, 119 | 931.372.6120 | EMAIL US

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