Community Based Learning
Frequently Asked Questions About Community-based Learning
(Adapted from Indiana Campus Compact)
How does Community-based Learning differ from internships?
Internships provide students with experiences to develop professional skills. Community-based Learning links service experiences to course learning objectives, while fostering citizenship skills. Like internships, Community-based Learning integrates theory and practice, but it also emphasizes civic responsibility and community awareness. Community-based Learning experiences can often lead to internships. CBL provides students with shorter-term community experiences which can help them refine or redirect their goals for longer internships.
Will Community-based Learning take a lot of time?
It does take time to set up the logistics of a Community-based Learning class, to respond to individual students, and to work through the unanticipated challenges of agency partnerships. But there are ways to minimize the impact on time by garnering assistance from the Community-based Learning Program staff, former students, and teaching assistants. It does get easier each time you teach the S-L course. The amount of time required lessens as faculty/agency partnerships develop.
Does CBL take too much class time?
You are still in charge of how class time is used. Students can reflect on the experience outside of class through journals, on Blackboard, in chat rooms, or in more formal papers. Research, however, indicates that devoting time in class to discussing experiences that emerge from the service will increase student learning and satisfaction with the course. If students’ experiences become a text for the class, participants will integrate what they are learning, make connections to course material, and listen to the experiences of others.
How do I evaluate students’ performance and learning?
Instructors frequently use traditional evaluation techniques: papers that are graded on how well students relate their service to specific course concepts, theories, and objectives; oral presentations that show critical thinking; exam questions that ask students to describe a community application of a particular theory; or final products developed during the service experience that illustrate skill proficiency. For more conceptual ideas, visit “Evaluation & Assessment."
How can my involvement in CBL strengthen my professional research?
National conferences and professional academic associations now include sessions on Community-based Learning and the scholarship of engagement. Involvement in CBL can augment and redirect your professional research interest, especially when a strong partnership is created with the community agency. CBL can contribute to research by engaging students in action research and applied research projects. The CBL resources illustrate how to document CBL work to enhance your promotion and tenure portfolio.
What risks are involved in Service–Learning?
The State of Oregon’s liability insurance will cover a Community-based Learning student, faculty, or staff member if they cause damage or injury while working within the course and scope of their SOU sanctioned, funded and supervised activities. If a student is injured at the service site, SOU Student Health Insurance is the primary financial resource for the students. Faculty and students should talk with the agency about its volunteer insurance, as well.
Minimize risk by using the Agency-Student Agreement (see "Forms"). This agreement clarifies expectations and fosters a clear line of communication for reporting difficulties between students and the agency. Discuss (in class and at the agency) the risks related to the service, as well as the benefits and skills required. Find details on risk issues here.