Community Based Learning
Suggested faculty checklist
(not all items will apply to all classes)
Increase your comfort level with CBL
- Meet with experienced faculty members who have agreed to mentor new faculty in specific topics. to overview CBL in your discipline
- Schedule a one-on-one discussion with the CBL Director and learn about CBL options, models, and resources specific to your course.
- Review sample syllabi for ideas: http://www.compact.org/syllabi/ or http://www.gseis.ucla.edu/S-Lc/modelp.html give helpful models.
- Consider attending CBL Committee meetings and CBL roundtables to learn more or share tips on special topics (reflection, assessment, using technology, integrating CBL into assignments, etc.).
Establish community partnerships
- Articulate, in writing, the objectives of the service component:
- To gain CBL designation, complete the CBL planning documents and submit to CBL Director by deadline (two weeks before student registration begins).
- Identify service activities or issues that relate to your learning objectives. (This step is not necessary if students will propose sites.)
- Review pre-screened agencies and projects on CBL website by clicking “Agencies,” then “List of Approved Agencies.”
- Ask Director of CBL to draft a list of possibilities or identify community needs via your own professional contacts.
- Contact potential community partner(s). (This step is not necessary if students will propose sites.)
- Plan a site visit or attend agency/faculty luncheon. CBL Director can arrange site visits.
- Discuss mutual goals, expectations, parameters for service projects (hours, product, timeline, and assessment), training requirements, onsite orientations, schedule flexibility, and method/frequency of exchanging feedback.
- Consider inviting agency or community representatives to visit the class. Host a panel presentation if you have multiple community partners.
Develop the syllabus
- Explain the service activity and learning objective(s) of the service in the syllabus. Convey the incentive(s) for successful completion of the experience.
- Link the service to course content:
- Use writing assignments, discussion topics, readings, presentations, and other activities listed in the syllabus as connections to the service.
- Describe how students will be assessed on the experience:
- Provide consequences for students who do/do not follow-through with their agency commitments.
- Review online agreements, log sheets, and evaluation forms; download from CBL website or develop your own. Note: approved agencies will be familiar with CBL forms. Clearly explain the due dates.
- Establish benchmarks or a timeline for contacting the agency, meeting with supervisor, signing contracts, beginning and completing the service. Include dates in your “class calendar.”
- Clarify the procedures for students to report problems (should they contact the agency or you?); give a cut-off date for changing agencies (week ____ is manageable; after that the agencies cannot be expected to reschedule.
- Talk about the CBL experience on the first day of class:
- Touch on the each of the topics listed under “Developing the Syllabus” (above).
- Introduce your TA, if you have one, and clarify their role.
- Invite agency or community representatives to visit the class (The CBL Director can assist).
- Facilitate students connecting with agencies. Have students complete an agreement with their agency supervisor (CBL Director can assist with project development, registration, agreements, etc.).
- Provide a timeline. Students need benchmarks for contacting the agency, meeting with supervisors, signing agreements, beginning and completing the service.
- Have a back-up plan for students with special needs.
- Consider providing an alternative for those students who are legitimately unable to participate, or for those who miss/ignore agency orientations and start dates.
- Contact the community partner(s) at least once mid-semester to exchange feedback and, if possible, visit the service site(s) to gain first-hand exposure to the experience:
- Evaluate student service activities using frequent “five-minute papers” or other methods of formally assessing student progress. Recommended timeframe: Weeks ___and ____.
Suggested questions for students:
- Have you attended an on-site orientation?
- What did you find that you did not expect to at the agency?
- How many hours have you served (or how much progress have you made on your project)? If you have not started, what is your anticipated start date?
- Are you encountering any challenges?
- Implement reflective assignments and activities throughout the semester:
- Visit the CBL website, click “Reflection” for sample questions, activities, and journal formats.
- Discuss the service in class even if you are using an optional CBL model. Students who choose not to participate in the experience will still gain insights and knowledge from the comments of students who do participate.
- Use reflective assignments to assess student learning and to evaluate performance (class discussion, journals, analysis papers, or oral presentations).
- Have students submit an evaluation to be completed by the service supervisor (forms available from the CBL office and website).
- Administer the CBL evaluation form to students on the last day of class (It’s on the CBL website.) Return the evaluations to CBL Director. A report will be sent back to you to help you refine your next Community-based Learning course.