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Motivating Students, Departments, and the Community about Service Learning Projects

Motivating students, the department, and the community to join forces and collaborate enthusiastically on a service learning project can be a challenge. Below are some tips on promoting engagement and buy-in. These ideas are drawn from the 2010 Service Learning workshop.

Student buy-in

Motivating students to be interested and active in your service learning project can be challenging, especially if you're implementing the project in a large course or an introductory course for non-majors. Here are some suggestions for engaging students in the project:
Field sampling

Departmental support and course design

Sometimes it can be difficult to convince your department that a service learning approach to teaching is just as effective (if not more so) than a traditional lecture or lab course. Additionally, it may be difficult to structure your service learning project while also covering all the course content that would be addressed in a traditional format. Below are some suggestions to designing your service learning project to cover important course content, whereby a case is made to the department that service learning is a practical way to get students hands-on experience with course material:

Community

Oftentimes, there is a disconnect between what is happening on campus and in the the community. Your service learning project is likely benefiting the community, so don't be shy, let your community know about the work you are doing and how it fits into the larger community. This also helps with issues in getting institutional and departmental support mentioned above. Here are some tips for presenting your service learning project to the community:



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