Frequently Asked Questions
1. Does Service-Learning change or modify the course objectives/outcomes?
No. Service-learning is a pedagogy—a method—to achieve the existing course objectives. Just as collaborative learning (i.e. group work), lecture, field research, labs, etc. are all methods used to achieve
course objectives, so too is service-learning. In a sense, one could simply consider service-learning as
a course project.
2. Are students receiving academic credit for community service hours?
No. In service-learning, the students are given credit for the learning, not the service. This learning can be
assessed in many ways, but is typically done through an evaluation of reflective journals, final papers and
class presentations that integrate their experiences with the course curriculum. Students could engage in
the required numbers of hours, but not receive a passing grade for the “service-learning assignment” and/
or the course, depending upon how the faculty determines the grade will be calculated.
3. Is student “reflection” required?
Yes. Student “reflection” is a central aspect that distinguishes service-learning from other forms of education learning. This feature is important because “Reflection” enables students to integrate their experiences with the curriculum content. Furthermore, reflection is a tool used by the instructor to evaluate student learning.
4. Is Service-Learning applicable in all disciplines or is it “discipline specific”?
Service-learning can be applied to ALL disciplines. What is essential is recognition of the particular objectives of a course and the degree to which these objectives might be met and/or enhanced through service-learning.
5. Should all faculty members use Service-Learning?
No. It is recommended that any interested faculty member explore and investigate a suitable need and
format for service-learning in their respective courses. As a pedagogy, it is important to understand the
theoretical underpinnings and practical application of service-learning. Thus, only those faculty members
who feel sufficiently prepared should use it.
6. Is Service-Learning just “busywork” assigned to students so that faculty members have more free time? No. Faculty should engage in service-learning out of a commitment to student serving and learning. Quality service-learning is not easy; faculty who engage in it should be recognized, commended and rewarded by their colleagues and the University.
7. What is the role of the Office of Institutional Relations and Public Service?
The personnel in the Office of Institutional Relations and Public Service and the members of the Service-
Learning Planning Committee facilitate the implementation of the “service” side of the pedagogy. The office will provide you information to help you use Service-Learning. To learn more about service-learning, call or visit the Office of Institutional Relations and Public Service in the Alvin I. Thomas Building, Room 102. There are many publications available for view in this office. Additionally, there is a plethora of information regarding Service-Learning on the world wide web. Some of the most popular sites are included in this brochure.
Contact: Dr. Lauretta F. Byars, Vice President for Institutional Relations and Public Service (936) 261-2130
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