Taking service-learning to scale – matching university and partner needs

Authors: Ola Ahlqvist*, The Ohio State University
Topics: Geography Education, Applied Geography, Cartography
Keywords: service-learning, community engagement
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: Download


Service-learning is one of several so-called High Impact Practices that allow faculty and departments to engage with communities through student coursework. Effective service-learning addresses community identified needs while enriching the student learning through a pedagogy based on experiential learning theory that incorporates cycles of experience, reflection, synthesis and active experimentation. While there is plenty of evidence of positive community impact and student learning outcomes through service-learning, best practices are mostly confined to smaller class sizes, typically 10-30 students. Some of the reasons are the limited ability to coordinate large number of students to have substantial service assignments and the capacity of partner organizations. Substantial community needs and student demand motivated the Office of Service-Learning at The Ohio State University to look for large scale partnerships that could scale to hundreds of students at a time. We will present our novel approach to service-learning partnerships, and one of its implementations in a large undergraduate Cartography course. We will also demonstrate how these large student groups have a measured impact on the partner’s capacity to meet community needs, while adding authentic experiences that foster integrative learning, civic engagement and intercultural knowledge.

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