Service-Learning Courses FAQs
The registration process for most APPLES courses is through ConnectCarolina, unless a course is noted as requiring an application or instructor permission. Any course requiring an application is noted on the course listing (most applications close before registration begins). For further questions about registration, students should contact an academic advisor.
What can I expect if I’m enrolled in an APPLES course?
Students in APPLES courses can expect to complete a minimum of 30 hours of service in the community in addition to the other academic requirements of the course. APPLES courses are no less rigorous than other courses and have comparable reading, writing and other assignments.
How will I have time for 30 hours of service?
Students are expected to carefully consider if they have time to complete three to five hours of service each week for 10 weeks. On average, this is the amount of time most students volunteer in an APPLES course. This is considered work outside of the class and does not replace class meetings.
Will my course count for the experiential education requirement?
Most APPLES courses do count for the experiential education requirement. Check our course listing or Connect Carolina for the designation.
Why doesn’t my course fulfill the experiential education requirement?
There are several criteria to fulfill this requirement in the undergraduate curriculum. APPLES is trying to work with more faculty each year to receive this designation and are always interested in course referrals from students.
How do I get started in an APPLES course?
Once a student has enrolled in an APPLES course, they then need to complete the online module. Typically during the first week of class, students see more information on community partnership opportunities for their particular course. Students often then submit their preference for where they would like to volunteer to the faculty member and receive confirmation on where they will serve. Students are encouraged to contact the community partner as early as possible in the semester.
What do I do when I complete 30 hours of service?
Students are encouraged to continue volunteering with their community partner beyond the 30-hour requirement. Many of these organizations rely on APPLES volunteers to sustain their work in the community and are appreciative of a more long-term commitment.
What if I don’t see a community organization want to work with on the partner list?
Students in APPLES courses should work from the list provided by the faculty member, as these are organizations selected based on how they complement the academic course work. APPLES partners have been prepared for service-learning volunteers and are often familiar with the course content, which can ensure the most successful service-learning experience for all involved.
What is the schedule for volunteering with a community partner?
Schedules vary according to community partners and information on volunteer times are shared with students often in the first week of class. Some opportunities are flexible, while others require a set time to volunteer each week.
What do I do if my community partner is not working out?
In the event there are challenges or concerns between a community partner and student, the first step is to notify your faculty member or the APPLES office. Most often, this step helps address any miscommunication and everyone can move forward together. In rare cases, (and after much conversation) the student is placed with a different community partner.
How can I do something more?
Students in APPLES courses are encouraged to apply for a Partnership Grant. These grants are intended to benefit the community partner and deepen the service-learning experience for a student.
The best first step is to contact APPLES.
Do I need to apply for a course development grant to offer a service-learning course?
No. Nearly half of the courses offered were not funded by a course development grant. However, we do offer funding opportunities for those looking for some additional resources.
Is teaching a service-learning course more work?
Often times, teaching a service-learning course is more work. Faculty have shared, however, that it feels like “better” work as they see the depth of learning in their students.
How do I evaluate service in a service-learning course?
Faculty should evaluate the learning in the service, rather than the service. Consider how you are asking students to demonstrate what they have learned in their service experiences. Just as students are not evaluated on their reading of a text, but rather are evaluated by demonstrating what they have learned from the reading.
How many credit hours are service-learning courses?
Most service-learning courses are three-credit hours, although this does vary by individual course.
Do service-learning courses have less content or meet less frequently than other courses?
Service-learning should never compromise the rigor of a course and often times have similar content to other sections of the same course. These courses maintain the same requirements for contact hours, written pages and other expectations of the university. It is important to consider how service-learning will deepen and complement the course material. The APPLES staff can assist with thinking through this aspect of the course.
If I am teaching a service-learning course, what do I need to do?
An overview of how to prepare to teach a service-learning course is available on the website.
Beyond service-learning, how else can I think about my work engaging in the community?
Faculty interested in engaging in communities can get connected with similar work through a variety or ways. Visit the Faculty & Staff Resources page for more information.
APPLES volunteers are different from interns in that they are students taking a course that requires community service as part of the curriculum. Volunteers are unpaid and commit to serving 30 hours over the course of the semester (three to five hours per week). Different from general volunteers, the service assigned to service-learning volunteers must have an intentional connection to the coursework. APPLES faculty and staff can assist with matching appropriate volunteer opportunities with courses.
How do organizations get connected?
There are two ways that partners connect with courses. Some develop a relationship with a faculty member over time and continue to connect to their course in that way. Other organizations first establish a connection with APPLES and submit requests through the APPLES Partner Portal, which connects opportunities with students in service-learning courses.
What kinds of projects are appropriate?
We see two main types of projects for students enrolled in service-learning courses. The first are traditional, weekly volunteer commitments like tutoring and shelter or kitchen shifts. Project-based initiatives are the second type of opportunity for students. We see many organizations working with students to complete public relations materials, program assessment, grant writing, etc. Students work should be no more than 30 percent clerical; these should be hands-on experiences.
What if the volunteer need does not connect to a course?
Though APPLES offers more than 100 service-learning courses in a given year we are sometimes unable to match up each volunteer need with a class. If this is the case we will use our connections to University departments, centers and student organizations to best get your organization connected to volunteers requested.
What is expected of the partnering organization?
Partners hosting students from APPLES courses are expected to provide a site orientation, supervise each student assigned to the organization, manage and verify hours worked and provide feedback to the students and faculty member if requested.
Does it cost money to host volunteers?
No. There is no cost associated with the service-learning course volunteers.
Things are going really great/not so well with the student this semester. What can be done?
First, we recommend talking with the student about their performance and then the instructor of their course. Faculty will want to know how their student is doing on-site and can help celebrate that student or mediate the situation if needed. You can always contact the APPLES office as well, we love to spotlight success stories and are happy to step in if something can be improved.