Service Learning is a pedagogy that allows a faculty member to develop innovative, meaningful learning experiences for students while creating real community solutions with a community partner.

Where to Begin

How do you create an SL course?

A first step is to consider the following questions:

  1. What community challenges correspond with courses I teach or want to develop? With research that I do or might want to undertake?
  2. How might a community partnership benefit from my research and teaching? What shared product might result from such a collaboration—a publication of faculty or student work, a community document or study, a public presentation?
  3. Which community challenge is the best fit for the course I choose, its time frame, and the students I want to reach? For my students’ skill level?
  4. What kind of service do I want my students to do, and does that match with their skill level? What preparation will they need?
  5. What kind of skills do I want my students to develop and how do I align my course objectives and assignments with them? How do these skills contribute to the larger skill set we are building as a faculty through our major?
  6. Do I have existing relationships with organizations/small businesses/ governmental agencies that work on these community issues? If not, what kind of group do I want to work with and in what region?

Service Learning is here to support you in the brainstorming process and to help locate community groups. Please contact julia.yakovich@uconn.edu for a brainstorming session.

    Service Learning Activities

    When you are considering the service aspect of your course, it is important to reflect on the types of activities that would work best with your course objectives, students, and community partners.

    There are multiple models from which to choose:

    • Direct: Students are in direct contact with people/ organizations. Ex.: Tutoring at the Boys and Girls Club, helping with a community garden.
    • Indirect: Engages students with a cause or community need without direct contact with an organization. Ex.: Survey development, data analysis, resource development plan, marketing, social media development.
    • Civic Action or Advocacy: Provides students with an opportunity to influence change in public policy. Ex.: Presenting at a town council meeting or legislative public hearing.

    When choosing an approach, consider how many hours you would like students to be involved in SL, what percentage of the grade their community work will fulfill, and how it will balance with other course objectives and work.