What is Service Learning?
Service-learning draws explicit connections between classroom learning and issues facing real communities by creating opportunities for students to be active in community-based service or research as part of a course.
While there are many definitions of service learning throughout the literature, Hatcher and Bringle (1997) in A Service-Learning Curriculum for Faculty provide one of the most concise explanations:
"We view service learning as a credit-bearing educational experience in which students participate in an organized service activity that meets identified community needs and reflect on the service activity in such a way as to gain further understanding of the course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, and an enhanced sense of civic responsibility."
Service-learning projects may be executed in any number of ways, and they vary extensively depending on their context and the academic discipline. Most service-learning projects at City College would be classified as academic service learning, which is generally comprised of the following key components and attributes.
- Academic Component—in which the project/service has a direct connection to the academic content of a particular course and is rooted in the discipline in which the course is offered.
- Service Component—in which students engage in a set of community-based learning activities that meet an identified community need.
- Reflection/Connection Component—in which students have structured opportunities to reflect on their experience and to articulate how the service connects to the course curriculum.
- Academic Emphasis—in which the academic content of the course informs or drives the service activities or projects.