Integrate > Undergraduate Teaching for a Sustainable Future > Connect to the World We Live In > Service Learning

Service Learning:
Connect Classroom Learning with Societal Issues

This page builds on ideas and outcomes from faculty discussions at the workshop, Systems, Society, Sustainability and the Geosciences, held in July 2012.

Service learning engages students in genuine problem-solving and brings their learning directly into their community. When emphasizing connections with societal challenges, service learning is a natural fit for students to forge working relationships with community partners and to embark on the complex, yet enriching, process of tackling real-world problems.


Pedagogic guidance for bringing service learning into your classroom

There are many benefits of service learning, including enhancing student learning and personal development while also providing benefits to other constituents. These advantages, among others, are discussed in the Service Learning module from Pedagogy in Action. This module contains pedagogic grounding in using the service learning method, ideas for classroom implementation, and examples of over 30 service learning projects from a variety of disciplines.

The On the Cutting Edge project explored the use of service learning in a geoscience context. As a result of a 2010 workshop, the module Service Learning in the Geosciences was produced. This module contains resources about project design, student motivation, assessment, and more than 35 geoscience examples of service learning projects.

What concepts or outcomes can be addressed using service learning?

Service learning is an effective means to teach about sustainability and to link classroom learning to community challenges.

Using service learning, students can:

Read more about the benefits of service learning from Pedagogy in Action.

Effective strategies for teaching with service learning

Designing, executing and assessing a service learning project can be a complex process that is not without risks. However, you can take advantage of the wealth of experience, resources, and materials developed by other faculty.


Opportunities to strengthen the use of service learning

A successful service learning project requires cooperation at many levels: from students, community partners, institutional administration, and departments. Thus, there are many pathways to creating a robust environment for service learning.

Materials and Resources for Service Learning

See how other faculty are using service learning projects with these examples from a range of disciplines and learning environments.

Collections of service learning projects

Service learning example projects, from Pedagogy in Action, contains projects from the sciences, economics and education.
Service learning projects, from On the Cutting Edge, has examples from the geosciences.

Relevant materials from InTeGrate workshop participants

Essay: Service Learning in Interdisciplinary Courses - Maureen Padden, McMaster University
Activity: Service-Learning to Explore Sustainability - Tracy Lai, Seattle Central Community College

Courses that use service learning:


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