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Where do you need help  

Where do you need help on your service learning activity? what difficulties are you encountering? How can the workshop leaders and participants help?


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This post was edited by Karin Kirk on Feb, 2010
I will also follow up with another question - is there anything we can help with before you are all turned loose for the weekend? We want to make sure you have everything you need by the end of the day today.

On Monday morning we'll be having small group sessions about specific challenges where we can identify the challenges and brainstorm for solutions.

Prior to Monday at 11:00 Central time, post here to describe challenges you've faced or challenges you anticipate. This could be on a small, individual scale or a more overarching challenge.


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The challanges that I face with this poster session include:
Student buy-in without a clear demand.
Uneven student group selection (it works sometimes!)
Students doubt their own capabilities.
Students who follow examples too closely.
Team internal frictions and imbalances.
Student fear of the research unknowns.
Students not following explicit instructions (image size, image format, citation, poster format...)!
Personal constraints in compiling products into a finished poster. (NOTE: I would have the class do it but some topics are covered late in the course and the time constraints of producing a product for public viewing are bad enough!)


Share edittextuser=474 post_id=4965 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=1577

Bill, Tell me a little more about the activity you have in mind. Is it the 1997 flood, Bozeman geoscape, or something else? How many students? Do they know each other well? For the average student in the course, will the material/content be a big stretch or will it be a logical next step?'



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I would like to solicit opinions.... Last year after the third hurricane hit Haiti, I felt it was inappropriate to just discuss the situation in an purely academic way. At that point, I asked my students if they would like to to do something more. They were enthusiastic. I have this project on my project page. I put it there because I wanted your opinions. Does it count as Service Learning? What do you think?


Share edittextuser=3164 post_id=4989 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=1577

Renee, It certainly shows that scientists are real people too, one of Suzanne's themes last Wednesday. So in the broadest sense it is SL if that is one of your learning goals.



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I have a logistical question - when I posted the original activity originally there was an option to have up to 5 files listed in the Other Materials section. I wasn't ready to put my files there yet, but now that I am I can't get a box to do so in the editing mode. (I can edit the Activity Description and Instructor Notes sections.) I am uploading the files and making links in the other text - is that ok instead?


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Ed, The 1997 flood was a spur-of-the-moment thing that I thought worked out well. I was looking for comments on the Geoscape poster session/poster. If this were to be done now in Environmental Geology, which has 60 students every year, I would probably make it voluntary in lieu of a final exam. Enrollment is evenly mixed by class standing and heavy in business and education majors, so it is quite likely that some know each other but few know more than a few others. I think of the material as being the next step up from the book - specific by place, but not from the peer-reviewed scientific literature. [That's why I though reflection might include not only pre-test/post-test but book versus project learning.]


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Jen - I had that same problem, but I found the Upload File box in the Full Editing tools/Files/images/Upload files menu.


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I am working on assessment for reflection activities. I am looking a different models and how to best integrate them to really asses the 3 “known” outcomes of Service Learning: students’ academic learning, civic engagement, and personal growth. I was wondering if I am on the right path ..... How can we assess civic engagement? And even more difficult I found: How can we assess personal growth? Are there scales on which we can measure these or they are so context and person dependent that must be done case by case. If so, how can we document them as a part of Service Learning benefit/outcome?


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I have reached the same stumbling block and have not put a specific assessment file in my activity page (yet). Do I use a pre and post survey? Is an exit evaluation with questions asking students to comment specifically on personal growth/civic engagement enough?
Because I've started the semester already I will probably try the latter this semester, but I would like to modify in future. In my case, I do not think the extra time commitment, creativity, extra trouble-shooting on the fly that SL requires will be taken into consideration (or valued) when I am evaluated unless I try and document students' reactions after taking the course.
I also wish I could have taken Dave's wonderful advise about taking it slow and adding SL activities in steps - the system at Rhodes required all or nothing.


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Share edittextuser=369 post_id=5089 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=1577

Bill, Sorry to be so slow in getting back to you.

Buy in - a project in lieu of a final seems a good reward as is the chance to display their work at the end (give each team member several invitations to a final showing and encourage them to hand them out to their friends,parents, etc.) I am not familiar with Geoscape, but would their analysis help hikers, climbers, mountain bikers, or walkers? Maybe one of these groups (campus or community) could be a community partner and that would heighten interest.

Uneven groups --- have each student write a brief proposal about why they want to do a SL project. Ask them to talk about some geology and use their responses to even up the groups.

Student doubts and fear -- Succeeding at the early steps of the course or the early steps of the SL project will help their confidence. Engineer this.

Following examples too closely --- Help. any ideas out there?

Internal friction --- Try building community in the classroom and the lab(?) with introductions, team work on the main book learning, etc. (1) Get your students to line up based on how far their home is from Bozeman (be a drill sergeant on this or the lining up will go on forever), assuming 60 students have them count off 1-30 twice. Pair ones, two etc. If their are an odd number of students, one pair is comprised of 3. Ask them to introduce each other to the class. Name, Hometown. An interesting fact. Say it loudly as you are hard of hearing. (2) Before an exam write on poster paper 10 possible exam questions. Break into 10 teams of six (maybe SL teams?) and align them with a poster. Each team spends five minutes answering the first questions. Then they rotate to the next poster, read what is written and add thoughts. Do this two or three more times, then have them return to their original posters. They either report out immediately or work on it over a day or so and report back next class. Talking seriously about classwork with unfamiliar classmates will break down barriers between studnets who only know each other slightly.
While students are working on projects it is good to have a road check midway. Maybe just asking every person to email you and answer the question"What worries do you have about successfully completing your project?" will garner answers that tip you off to friction. There are no perfect answers on what todo then, but sitting down with a troubled group and working with them on the project for awhile is the first step. Anybody have experiences on how to proceed here?

Not following instructions -- review a draft of the final product. Or have students share drafts with your specific instructions as the main focus. This latter approach will work well if you and your students have built a safe learning community.

Personal constraints --- In a SL course you have to drop some content, labs, with the hope that your students achieve your/their learning goals through project work. Dropping some items is the way that you create space in your day and their day to tackle the project adequately.


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I can't get into the empty boxes on the activity page.


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I need help in figuring out how the links between assessment and activities will be ongoing. I am uploading some of my lab connections, but will need more time to get it all together. My problem is that, I can't recreate everything from the beginning...the inception of the garden etc. I need to think of ways to continually connect and "grow" the project from year to year. So should I consider the garden as a service project this year and use it as a outdoor classroom in the coming years? Do I need to either add part two (which I can do with the space and set up available) or do I come up with another project to build the same service component. I realize my lab connections would turn the garden into a outdoor classroom and I'm feeling like the enthusiasm and excitement for service learning aspect may be lost. For example, the students were excited with the design and implementation as well as the Japanese American internee connection, so next year will I move the garden project into the community using the student directed website I mentioned in my presentation? Should I use it as a lab for the lessons I've proposed and look for other service projects? Thinking out loud a bit.


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This post was edited by Jacob Spear on Aug, 2014
The Center for Community Partnerships here is sponsoring an evaluation workshop a week from Monday. I was poking around today and found this resource from a 2008, NSF workshop. The focus is "informal science," but in many respects the SL component makes at least that part of the course informal. It's 117 pages so I've only skimmed parts of it and don't think I'll print it out, but I'm hoping it will be a useful resource, so I'm passing it along.


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I am having problems with the web page layout. I created a word document with a rubric for the project. Is it possible to show the entire rubric on the web page instead of just having a link?

Thanks for your help.


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Is it possible to allow Bridget and I to be in the same small workgroup for Monday's discussion?

The Put Some Blue in Your Green School is the primary SL project and is taking more time that I anticipated to complete. I hope to be able to go back after the discussion and update the Rainwater Harvesting SL which is a subcomponent in our program design.



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HI LINDA--I would suggest that you simply give a brief description of the rubric that you use in your assessment, and then upload the Word file...You can upload files via the link on the upper right of the screen.

Enter the file a title, browse for the file on your computer and "open", and give a brief description. Then hit UPLOAD. Wait a few seconds and a pink box will display that gives the file a unique SERC identifier number. Then, on your page use this command: [file XXXXX 'Scoring Rubric'] and put the file where appropriate on your ActivityScheet.

This way folks can simply download your rubric if they want to either use it or modify it for their own use.


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Hi Linda (again), If you want the Rubric to be posted on the ActivitySheet itself, you should be able to just cut and paste the text into the Activity Sheet where desired. You have available all of the basic Word commands for formatting: bulleted lists (or enumeration), Bold, Italics, etc. Karin, Monica or I can work with you directly if you need help formatting. It's hard to know what advice you need without seeing the page directly.


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Carousel/Gallery Walk/eJournal, I responded to Bill's questions with a cryptic response about using a "carousel" and email (or an eJournal) to build community and assess (Roadcheck) the how strong the community is in each group. Then I remembered I had done activities on both at an earlier workshop.

Carousel/Gallery Walk.


Hope this helps.



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Response to Rhonda's comment on the previous page -
I really love this project! Is it feasible to try having the students "consult" other organizations in the community that want to build something similar? It could just be a component of it - the cultural aspect of the garden design or the sustainability component of implementation. They could hold "how-to" seminars for other organizations (would that work for your age group?) Or does your garden need regular maintenance or upgrades that can be done each year and connected to a re-dedication activity or ceremony to maintain the cultural connection? Or maybe you can have an indoor component with a greenhouse to grow the seedlings that will be transplanted to the garden each year by the new class (if you are using groundcovers maybe) - then each class has something to add to the garden?


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I didn't see your request when I made the group assignments, sorry. But if you want feedback on more than 1 activity, then you and Bridget need to be in 2 different groups.


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Again to Linda,

You can also post your rubric as an image. See

Monica or I can set this up for you.


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One place I could use help is in figuring out what you can do with a class of non-science majors who are taking Geology as their science requirement. Particularly Historical Geology, which I teach most frequently.

They don't have much science background to draw on. Most of them are not in the lab (since lab is optional). It is hard to send them into a school to do a lesson since they have very little interest and background in science. Water sampling doesn't fit into the class very well. If they haven't taken lab, they won't know how to do sediment analysis.

Nearby Stone Mountain Park wants our students to do projects out there, but it is hard to come up with something to do with someone in their first month or two of a science class. Picking up trash, maintaining trails, and these sorts of things don't require much science background, but there is not a lot of learning that will be going on there either.

The idea that worked well the one time we did it, is to have them lead field trips with high school students, but it has to have constant supervision, and we don't have that much demand from high schools for such trips. So I am looking for some other ideas.

What could one do in a park? Inventorying trees might be an idea, but it is not geology. Rock ID is good, but it is almost all granite. No big surprises, and we can't stop and teach field mapping in GEOL 101. Water sampling might be an idea. We would need to know whether we could have students do this without direct supervision. Maybe they could be trained by Adopt-A-Stream.

Someone at Stn Mtn wanted students to do stream mapping, but we have not trained our students in this sort of field work. I am not sure how we would do this. With GPS?? GIS?? This requires some skill.

Anyway, I am looking for some ideas that we could do. Suggestions?


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Pam, What geological, physiographic, geographic features can be seen from Stone Mtn? Mtns,lakes, rivers, valleys, etc. Are there any important contacts in the surrounding area? Faults or other structural features? Historic earthquakes? Any microseismicity associated with SM? Aren't there lakes encircling the mtn? What is their origin? Are sheets of granite spalling down the sides? All sides or just certain ones? Why just some sides? Have any actions been taken to protect people and property at the base(rock bolts)? What engineering geological considerations were there when the giant carving (?)was created?

Students could stand atop the mtn and take bearings to features they see and try to idnetify them.

Maybe the long range project is a guide to the"geology" around SM. The guide could be used by high schools or by your studnets when they work with HS students? Every Georgia Perimeter class adds to the guide.

Sorry to be so disjointed, but I hope amidst this data dump there is a useful idea.



Share edittextuser=369 post_id=5288 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=1577

For Pam - I'm not sure if this will work for historical geology, but my predecessor here told me about a project she did with her intro geology class (before she retired). She had them do a short paper on a "pet rock" - they had to find a rock (which in Memphis they have to travel at least 3 hours to find one in any direction), identify it, describe it's geologic history etc. They could pick a rock from their hometown over break (again this may not apply so much for you). Perhaps adding in a section specific to the geologic history of the area where the rock was found? Did it travel from some other source, if it was found in a river?
I don't have her old rubric for that so I'm not sure how far she went with it.


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At a moderately similar place in Texas (Enchanted Rock - granite batholith precambian I think) there were actually places where one could see variations. some Places had very large phenocrysts, in other places, the feldspars had weathered out leaving qtz crystls in place. There were dykes with crystalization rims. Maybe you could ask students to explore an area and determine if they see differences. Even my Saudi students found differences in the Jurassic dolostones that were thinnly bedded.


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