Teach a Service-Learning Course

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APPLES offers an array of services and resources to assist faculty in the development and integration of service-learning experiences in the classroom. Although specific understandings of service-learning pedagogy vary as the field has grown, the range of definitions has begun to converge on several core characteristics of service-learning. APPLES Service-Learning uses Bringle & Hatcher’s (1995) definition of academic service-learning as a “course-based, credit-bearing educational experience in which students participate in an organized service activity that meets identified community needs and reflect on the service activity in such a way as to gain further understanding of course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline  and an enhanced sense of personal values and civic responsibility.”

At a minimum, service-learning courses must meet the following criteria:

  • the course has a formal, academic curriculum that is rooted in the discipline in which the course is being offered
  • the course contains a set of organized community-based learning activities through which students directly serve a constituency as a means to address an identified community need through a minimum of 30 hours of service
  • the course provides structured opportunities for students to critically connect their service activities to the course curriculum.

The APPLES staff is available to all faculty and instructors interested in service-learning pedagogy. This guide will assist with learning more about the basics of service-learning pedagogy and course development. Each semester, APPLES is working with more faculty, new disciplines and exciting courses. Faculty new to service-learning should contact the APPLES office to schedule a consultation with a staff member.