Service Learning

Tuesday 1:30pm-2:45pm Student Union: Thunderbird
Round Table Discussion

Leader

Sue Ebanks, Savannah State University
In this round table discussion, we will exchange ideas for ways in which students can learn how to take action in their surrounding communities, including their campus, as it relates to the environmentally relevant challenges. This will include suggestions for steps in developing the service learning project, from identification of the project and community partners, to helping to facilitate the success of the students in delivering on the objectives of the project, as well as some discussion on assessment of success. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine document, Service-Learning in Undergraduate Geosciences: Proceedings of a Workshop (2017), will be used as a framework for the discussion.



Service Learning -- Discussion  

What are some concrete examples of what service learning looks like across the geosciences. It's easy to imagine projects based on public health, education, environmental studies, etc., but some examples specifically across the geosciences that have been successful would be a very useful starting point.

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David Padgett is using information from the GLOBE project in his teaching of preservice teachers https://www.globe.gov/

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Angela Allison
Brandon Jones
Susan Howes Conrad
Kathy Browne
Cathy Manduca
Reginald Archer
Sue Ebanks

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senser.net
-service to community vs service to the University
-is mapping the campus, service to the community?

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I-USE GEOPATHS NSF RFP
-mentions SL specifically

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SL to help build infrastructure for community improvement...tie to specific class or curriculum

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how to coordinate multiple projects?
Scaffolding (ex. PBL design)
-subsequent courses contribute more to the ongoing project
-How to keep the community partners involved?

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Making connections with groups who are already working on Earth System/community service in the local community or geography may be a way to start a service learning opportunity more quickly. http://www.wastormwatercenter.org/eyes-watershed

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Weather & Climate (GEOG 3500) at Tennessee State University (HBCU located in Nashville, TN - 6,700 undergraduate students, many from moderate and low-income households).

GEOG 3500 students work with students and teachers in inner-city schools implementing the GLOBE program (www.globe.gov) Surface Temperature Protocols. They must collect air and surface temperature samples, and also analyze WeatherBug weather station ambient air data. The surface temperature and ambient temperature data are displayed on ArcGIS Online maps. The students also collect criteria air pollutant data using low-cost air quality sensors. The data are mapped and compared to regional/government sensor data. Students must write a term paper based upon their experiences and then do an oral presentation of their work.

Students learn how to translate complex earth science concepts into terms understandable to non-scientists. They also serve as role-models for younger, high school students from populations underrepresented in the geosciences.

David Padgett dpadgett@tnstate.edu

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Originally Posted by Sue Ebanks


senser.net
-service to community vs service to the University
-is mapping the campus, service to the community?


Another one might be AASHE. This group is focused on infusing sustainability in higher education.

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Is the SL tied to a course for credit or tied to a non-course "opportunity?"

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Service learning can create opportunities to give students experience in some of the 'soft skills' that we'd like them to have such as working productively in groups, communication in writing, interacting with stakeholders, public speaking. The relevant pedagogies that work for these skills can also be brought to service learning projects.

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Service learning may also be a way to mitigate some of the 'town and gown' type challenges that institutions and communities often have.

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Making connections with the thought leaders or organizational leaders in the community can be invaluable. Being open and also intentional about where you build alliances can really impact the outcome of a project. This might mean adjusting the focus of a project to follow what the community is interested in.

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Using SL to meet major community needs
If SL is the foundation for the online presence created by students to raise awareness of a geoscience issue, it is helpful to have the students then use it after creation.
How to take students from one level to the next level?
---club to class to other?

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Some projects can last multiple semesters and future iterations or next steps be passed forward to subsequent courses.

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Partnerships with local school districts can be a great resource when developing service learning opportunities.

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SL opportunities may be more meaningful when students identify problems and shape their own projects to engage the community.

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Students must understand that they cannot solve the world's problems in one semester.... and that they are on the community stakeholders' agenda, not their agenda.

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As a stimulus for developing a SL project, use current issues that are (made) relevant to the student demographics of your campus.

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Assessment can be whether the community project has been useful to the community served

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Use directed reflective writing as an assessment of what the student learned.

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Social media and other web platforms could be a tool for assessing community engagement and monitoring the project. Can also be a great tool if you want to do some qualitative research later!

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This post was editted by Sue Ebanks on Jul, 2017
Assessment can also include change in scope or reach of a particular SLP:
-number of hours
-degree of civic engagement
-do the students learn something...instead of stand alone survey, incorporate into their exam
-Science Practice Video/paper to demonstrate that they have learned more about the way that science is done. They record themselves doing different part of the project and do a reflection at the end when they consider what part of science they were doing.

-Student attitude toward (geo)science
-change in the community

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Service learning may require having student sign a release to keep the lawyers happy. Maybe SERC could host examples for newbies.

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I would rather assess whether my students benefited from service learning four-five years later. That's when students who "hated" the "extra work" involved in service learning email me and say "Dr. P., I'm so glad you had us working on that project. I used my paper as a writing sample and was hired immediately."

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This seems very discipline-dependent, though... I'm trying to find ways to connect "solid earth geology" to service learning. While environmental topics and issues like water and food/soil seem like no-brainers as service learning projects, I'm trying to figure out how to do that in general geology courses.

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Build SL projects in stages, have an incremental plan in place when you go so it can keep growing and you don't bite off more than you can chew. Building strong partnerships (with community agencies, schools, etc.) is also important, don't rush this step.

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Some resources:

Teach the Earth
https://serc.carleton.edu/introgeo/service/index.html

NAGT workshop
https://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/servicelearning/index.html

InTeGrate:
https://serc.carleton.edu/integrate/teaching_materials/service_learning.html
https://serc.carleton.edu/integrate/workshops/sustainability2012/activities/6...

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Originally Posted by PRAJUKTI Bhattacharyya


This seems very discipline-dependent, though... I'm trying to find ways to connect "solid earth geology" to service learning. While environmental topics and issues like water and food/soil seem like no-brainers as service learning projects, I'm trying to figure out how to do that in general geology courses.



How about through natural hazards?

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Only mentioned in passing. But the academic reward structure at a research institution can punish faculty who invest energy in service learning.

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Originally Posted by Cailin Orr


Originally Posted by PRAJUKTI Bhattacharyya


This seems very discipline-dependent, though... I'm trying to find ways to connect "solid earth geology" to service learning. While environmental topics and issues like water and food/soil seem like no-brainers as service learning projects, I'm trying to figure out how to do that in general geology courses.



How about through natural hazards?


That's mostly place based... works great in areas where hurricanes and tornadoes and earthquakes are common, but that's not relevant for every location... I'd love to talk about community earthquake preparedness, but I teach in Wisconsin :)

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