The Basics of Service-Learning
What is service-learning?
Service-Learning is a way to connect your classroom to your community. Courses with a Service-Learning (SL) component offer students an opportunity to apply course concepts to a community service project and to critically reflect on this experience.
- PSYC 331: Psychology of Health students serve with Boise Parks and Rec to provide recreational activities, art and nutrition education to children.
- MGMT 305: Human Resource Management students prepare employee manuals for a community organization.
- ENGR 120: Intro to Engineering students create adaptive devices for people with disabilities.
What are the benefits to students?
- Hands-on application and knowledge.
- Real world experiences that appeal to employers, graduate schools, and scholarship reviewers
- Networking possibilities and references for your resume
- Interaction with people of diverse backgrounds
- Personal insights and growth
- New awareness of community problems and solutions
What kind of service-learning classes are offered at Boise State?
- Fully-Integrated Service-Learning class: service is mandatory part of curriculum and is an integral part of the learning process and class discussion.
- Optional Service-Learning class: students have a choice to do service project in place of other assignment such as a research paper. Students must also tell the registrar they made this choice to receive the SL designation on their transcript.
- Service-Learning Lab: optional, 1 credit co-requisite class that requires 40 hours of service and reflection time with faculty member outside of regular 3 credit class. You must register for the lab to receive credit.
What will I be doing for my service project?
The site supervisors match you with a service experience that relates to the class. Many positions will involve working directly with people, although some will involve working with computers or library research, and others may involve outside physical labor. Your site supervisor will make sure you are comfortable and prepared.
When will I be doing my service-learning project?
Typically, a faculty member chooses to partner with 1-10 agencies based on how well the agency’s service project fits the learning goals of the class. From this list, students select which agency/project most interests them and fits their schedule and location needs. The SL office and faculty work hard to provide a diverse selection of agencies. Students wishing to design and implement a project with an agency not on the list may do so with faculty approval.
I am currently registered for more than one service-learning class. with an hour requirement. Can my total hours be reduced or combined?
It is your instructors’ decision whether to allow you to reduce your hours. Agencies should also be consulted about any reduction in hours of service. Our recommendation is a reduction of 25% of the combined hourly requirement. However, you must complete all of your service at one agency and the agency must offer an experience that relates to the learning objectives of both classes. Course assignments must not overlap (i.e. the same essay may not be submitted to both instructors). You, your instructors, and your agency should discuss and record how these requirements are met and then clarify the hour reduction.
What exactly are the requirements for a typical service-learning course?
It depends on the class and the faculty member, but generally…
- You will do a minimum fifteen hours of service over the course of the semester or you will work on a project that has an end product.
- You will share how your service relates to the course during class discussions and assignments.