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Develop Your Syllabus

The following outline and examples will help you develop a strong SL syllabus and supplementary docs.

— NOTE:   Choose the components that fit your course (not all elements will apply).

Items to include:

Service-Learning Rationale and Description

Explain what SL is, why you are using it, and what students will gain.

SL learning objectives

Describe the learning objective for the SL (academic, personal/professional, and civic learning). Specify the skills and knowledge students will develop.

Transparency with assignments related to SL

Consider this SL assignment template to add clarity and transparency.

Describe a flexible alternative to ensure learners of all different backgrounds and abilities can participate

Clarify the link between the learning outcomes and the SL activities.
Use assignments, discussions, readings, presentations, etc. See ideas see examples and Assignments examples.

Describe Reflection assignments or activities (at least three)

Offer instructions for working with community partners — see this example of tip sheets

Specify assessment criteria

Specify how students will be assessed and how they will demonstrate what they have learned from the service.

For ideas see Rubrics and Assessment.

Explain processes

Explain how students will select projects, communicate with community partners, etc. The following may apply to your course:

  • If students can design their own project, consider using the “Student Initiated Project” form and tip sheet on the SL forms page
  • If students have an option to turn a regular class project into a SL project, consider this syllabus language for “SL option

Establish benchmarks

Establish benchmarks or a timeline for contacting the agency and beginning and completing service.

See Sample Course Timeline.

Clarify policies and reporting lines

  • State your expectations for students’ accountability to their community partner (see example – then scroll down)
  • Clarify your process for addressing challenges
  • Give a cut-off date for changing projects (week six is usually manageable.)

Review risk management

Include language about accountability and risk management, if appropriate. (See Risk management steps for faculty).

Contact for assistance.