Looking Forward: Planning for Spring 2021

Our fall semester is winding down and spring registration is underway. Now is the perfect time to brainstorm how you might implement service-learning in your spring course! In this newsletter, we’ve laid out a few of the supports available to you through the Service-Learning Program to help you as you start looking ahead. We also have a few updates coming along, so be sure to read on!

Rubric Development Workshop: November 10 & 12

One of the most frequent requests for support we receive is for more explicit examples of service-learning project rubrics and resources for rubric development. Well, we heard your feedback and are here to help! On November 10th and 12th from 2-4, we will be hosting our first two part Service-Learning Rubric Development Workshop! 

On day one, faculty will be introduced to some of the most common learning objectives for service-learning projects, as well as the differences between standard and service-learning assessments and rubrics.  On the second day, faculty will have the opportunity to draft their very own service-learning rubric via our step-by-step walkthrough. Interested faculty can enroll now!

Service-Learning Coordinator Office Hours

Planning and implementing a service-learning course this spring may feel like a daunting task, but OEL and the Service-Learning Coordinator are here to support you! Whether you’re interested in implementing your own course or just want to learn more about the Service-Learning program here at ACC, we’ve expanded our office hours to be as accessible to you as possible. Find a day and time that best fits your schedule by checking out our appointment availability here. 

Each appointment slot is for a 30 minute session. If you believe you might need more time, feel free to sign up for more than one consecutive slot. We look forward to speaking with you soon to help you on your service-learning journey!

Service-Learning Online Training:  Closed for Updates

If you’ve been thinking about starting the Service-Learning Online Training but haven’t been able to enroll, it is because we have temporarily closed enrollment for our 2021 course updates. Using your feedback and contemporary research, we will be making adjustments and updates to our content. Included in these revisions will be a more robust section on evaluating service-learning, an alignment with ACC’s faculty values, examples of service-learning projects across the disciplines, and more!

Anyone currently enrolled in the 2020 course must contact the Service-Learning coordinator prior to Dec. 1 2020 in order to be manually enrolled in the new Service-Learning Online Training. The 2020 Blackboard shell will be archived in December, and anyone not transitioned over will lose their spot in the training.

Faculty who have already completed the training will be added to the new Service-Learning Faculty Hub, a private resource repository site accessible only to trained service-learning faculty. Please contact Sabryna Groves at the email address below to inquire about these updates.

The Service-Learning Section Type: Evaluating Programmatic Efficacy 

There is research that suggests that service-learning and civic engagement programs at the community college level can impact student persistence and completion rates. At the core of this research is data – the hard numbers that demonstrate the relationship between service-learning and student success. Unfortunately at this time, Austin Community College does not have the infrastructure necessary to harvest this valuable data. If we are to meaningfully evaluate the impact of our service-learning efforts on student success at ACC, we need a way to easily track student service-learning engagement and outcomes.

One method to compile this data would be to allow trained faculty to teach service-learning section types so that all service-learning courses are visible and searchable to students registering for classes. This would enable us to see how many students are enrolling in service-learning courses in a given semester, as well as track those students’ outcomes after their experiences. We’re getting closer to that goal, but need your help in the final stretch!

How can you help? First, share your input on our Proposal for Service-Learning Designation.

What do you think should qualify a service-learning course for designation? We’ve drafted our thoughts here and invite you to share your feedback with us! Sharing your ideas and thoughts helps us write a proposal that is responsive to your needs and experiences as ACC faculty. Once you’ve read our proposal, please give us your feedback and/or endorsement by completing this brief form.

With enough faculty support, we can expedite the process of attaining this designation, getting us one step closer to a more robust service-learning program for our students.

(Note: Access to both the proposal and survey are limited to personnel with an ACC Gmail account.)

Best Practices: Structuring your Service-Learning Project

As you begin thinking about your spring service-learning course, you may be wondering how best to organize your project. While your learning objectives, assessment types, and course timeline all play a role in determining the structure of your project, it doesn’t hurt to have a general framework for implementation.

Inspired by Cone and Harris’ (1996) Lens Model, Kolb’s (1984) Experiential Learning Cycle, and the University of Maryland’s PARE Model (1999) our Service-Learning Program has adapted the PARE Model for Service-Learning Implementation. PARE stands for Preparation, Action, Reflection, and Evaluation, the four necessary stages for high quality service-learning implementation. This model is meant to act as a scaffold upon which you can develop a service-learning experience that best suits your learning objectives.

  • Preparation introduces students to the community they’ll be serving in and the organization they’ll partner with. A large portion of this phase is dedicated to project development and introduction.
  • Action engages students in their service experience. While faculty don’t have a lot of control over what happens in this phase, there are steps they can take in both the preparation and reflection phases to ensure that students make the most of their experience.
  • Reflection asks students to connect their experiences in service back to relevant content they’ve been covering in their course. This phase is integral for an academically enriching service project.
  • Evaluation requires students demonstrate how their service experience deepened their understanding of course content or enabled them to reach learning objectives. Students are not evaluated based on their completion of an hour requirement alone.

We will be reviewing learning objectives and their role in assessment during our Service-Learning Rubric Development Workshop, so be sure to enroll now to save your spot and start planning for Spring 2021!


Learning by doing

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Service-Learning Program? 

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