A Checklist for Service-Learning in Economics

Initial Publication Date: November 30, 2010
Incorporating service-learning into any course involves careful preparation. This checklist helps faculty begin the process of developing an effective service-learning course in economics. The first step is to prepare and design your course. This involves defining learning, service and civic engagement goals. In the second step, community partners and service activities are chosen in order to implement a service experience. An important third step is reflection; reflection provides students opportunities to link classroom learning to their service experiences. Finally, both formative and summative assessment activities are developed to promote and measure student learning.
Learn more about principles of good practice in service-learning

Preparing and Designing a Service-Learning Course

Student learning:
  • What are the learning goals for the class?
    • Which economic theories do you want your students to learn?
    • Which economic institutions or agencies do they need to know about?
  • What tasks or competencies will your students be expected to perform after the course?
    • Which economic formulas or models should they know and be able to apply?
    • Which math skills should they have to accomplish their work?
  • What are your expected learning outcomes for your class?
Service activity:
  • What are your service, and civic engagement goals for the class?
  • What type of preparation do students need for required service?
    • What economic knowledge and skills to they need to serve effectively?
    • What information do students need about their community, community issues or problems, and community partners before they participate in service activities?
    • What civic engagement skills do students need to serve effectively?
      • team building activities
      • diversity:working with people who are different from one's self
      • role of reflection in linking course content with service experience
  • What are your expected service, and civil engagement outcomes for your class?
  • What type of service activity best promotes the learning, service and civil engagement goals for your class?
  • Which community partners would best benefit from and support your learning, service, and civic engagement outcomes?

Implementing a Service Experience

  • What type of service activities, placements, or projects will facilitate the learning, service, and civic engagement goals in your course?
  • Is the proposed service activity meaningful to both community members and students?
  • How will community partners participated in the service placements, projects, or activities?
    • What are their expected contributions and responsibilities before service (e.g. project design, student orientation, etc)?
    • What are their expected contributions and responsibilities during service (e.g. on-site supervision, documentation of service, etc)?
    • What are their expected contributions and responsibilities after service (e.g. student service evaluation, outcome evaluation)

Learn more about effective learning and service experiences

Learning through Reflection

  • What types of reflection activities best link learning and service goals?
    • What types of reflection activities allow students to apply economic concepts?
    • What types of reflection activities allow students to reflect on the role, impact and consequences of economics in a civil society?
  • What form will reflection take?
    • Oral or written?
    • Individual or group reflection?
  • When will reflection take place? (Before, during, after service?)
  • Where will reflection activities take place? (In the classroom? At the service site? Other? ( electronic class chat sites)?

Evaluating Student Learning and Service Activities and Outcomes

  • What types of formative assessment will be used to monitor and guide student learning?
    • Which methods will best identify gaps in student understanding of economic concepts?
    • Which methods will help student apply economic theory in a real world setting?
  • What type of summative assessment best demonstrates student:
    • Learning outcomes in economics?
    • Service outcomes?
    • Civic engagement outcomes?
  • What will we look for? What are the necessary indicators of our learning, service, and civlc outcomes?
  • How will we measure the indicators learning, service, and civic outcomes?
  • Who or what will provide the necessary data?
  • When will formative and summative evaluation take place throughout the term?