Community learning is a teaching method that promotes student learning through active participation in meaningful and planned service experiences in the community that are directly related to course content. Through reflective activities, students enhance their understanding of course content, general knowledge, sense of civic responsibility, self-awareness, and commitment to the community.
The academic study may be in any discipline or combination of disciplines. The service may address a variety of community needs, such as direct service to people in need, improvement of community resources, community outreach and education, research, or policy analysis.
Reasons to integrate community learning in your course
- Make a difference for the university and surrounding community by helping to address pressing community problems.
- Enhance your teaching effectiveness by providing students with a "real world" context for theory and discipline-specific knowledge.
- Engage students through powerful curricula, interactive classroom discussions and personalized student learning.
- Raise students' awareness of current social and community issues as they relate to academic areas of interest.
- Develop students' critical thinking, writing, interpersonal communication and citizenship skills.
- Advance your research & scholarship efforts
Minimum criteria for a designated community learning course
- Introduce students to the principles of community learning.
- Require students to complete no less than 10 hours per academic term of direct academically relevant community service.
- Require students to integrate the learning derived from service with subject matter outcomes through relevant activities such as guided discussions journal assignments, written assignments, and/or class presentations.
- Evaluate students' abilities to integrate the learning derived from service with subject matter outcomes, not merely on performance of community activities. This evaluation should contribute directly to student grades.
The Center for Community Learning & Leadership offers workshops on community learning course development and presents activities for community partnering. Check our calendar of events, look for announcements from our CCLL or the Center for Faculty Development, or contact us for assistance.