Service Learning Course Development Process - Start Early
Developing a service learning component of a course takes planning at least one term prior to the course offering. We recommend that you contact a Steans Center staff member early and participate in a quarterly academic service learning workshop. Through conversation with the Steans Center staff, the faculty member typically identifies and visits a community partner where their course learning objectives are aligned with community partner interests. All service learning components at DePaul are driven by community partner requests that may involve multiple conversations in person and/or by email.
Steans Center staff and community partner typically visits class early in the quarter where students are assisted in getting oriented to the service learning component, to completing conduct and safety reviews, and, if necessary, in attaining information on tracking hours. During the term, Center staff provide monitoring of students to troubleshoot challenges and offer support. At the end of term, Steans Center staff facilitate online service learning evaluations of to provide feedback to faculty feedback on the effectiveness of the service learning pedagogy.
Successful Service Learning Practice - Reflection and Critical Synthesis
Successful service learning pedagogy integrates reflection throughout the term and especially through in-class discussion and guided assignments. Faculty should provide guidance on the systemic social issues that exist within the service site context. This can also be done by bringing in guest speakers that the Center can assist in organizing. Developing structured reflection is a vital component for successfully implementing service learning pedagogy.
The Center provides faculty with workshops and a workbook to assist with aligning learning goals and assignments to the service learning component. Community engagement is woven throughout the syllabus in ways that complement readings, films and other curricular materials.
The most successful service learning courses critically synthesize experience from meaningful work in the community with course goals while directly building the capacity of community partners. Assessment of students in not based on the service, however, but on how the student's experience contributed to achieving the desired learning outcomes of the course.
Steans Center Support - Ongoing
The Center provides training on service learning pedagogy through one-on-one consulting and groups workshops with peers from across the university. Assistance is provided to identify community partners that work with DePaul regularly across the academic year. Logistical, risk management, student/project monitoring and troubleshooting are all services provided by Steans Center staff.
Community-based Research Components
For courses with research components, we assist with writing IRB applications and provide a research assistant.
Evaluation of service learning is done quarterly to ensure student learning and maximum community impact. Faculty can also get support for converting their service learning component and community partnerships into scholarship.
At the Steans Center, we assist faculty to ensure that service learning pedagogy is a highly effective teaching method that provides both an important context for collaborative learning as well as contribute to building the capacity of community-based organizations in Chicago and internationally.
For general inquiries on developing an ASL course, contact Helen Damon-Moore.