Building Service-Learning and Community Engagement Projects in Online Environments
This module addresses the Pandemic and Community Engagement from multiple perspectives in the context of remote learning. We have five days of activities and resources built into this module, and additional resources at the end.
Hello, and Welcome to Our Module: Building Service-Learning and Community Engagement Projects in Online Environments
Our module addresses the Pandemic and Community Engagement from multiple perspectives in the context of remote learning. We have five days of activities and resources built into this module, and additional resources at the end. The goals of this module are:
- To give professors, students, and all audiences insight into what service-learning and community engagement mean in a classroom in general and in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic
- Steps for beginning a service-learning or community-engaged course, including reaching out to partners in the time of COVID-19
- Activities to start the semester, such as community “ice-breaker” activities. These have been curated for remote learning that will become more common in our current pandemic context
- Voices and projects from service-learning students to get a sense of their experience and sample assignments, as well as their feelings on the pandemic. These students had to leave in March, as all students from Northeastern did, and they discuss their experiences of this process and their hope for the future
- Larger assignments for use across disciplines and for use during the semester as well. These have also been chosen for their ability to work both remotely and in-person to accommodate a range of teacher experience as we move forward in many modalities
- Resources to learn more and support your classroom during the pandemic.
Community Engagement is a practice where classrooms collaborate with community partners to enhance their learning experience by fostering meaningful relationships and writing projects. Students work with partners to build on their assets and create materials that will help them with their volunteer and/or advocacy work. Community partners are often nonprofit organizations. For example, a student may work with the Jumpstart organization that pairs students with preschool classrooms as part of the class, and integrate this service into writing projects to support the organization and reflect on the experience.
How does this model change in the Time of Covid-19? Organizations are moving to virtual work. So, for example, the student doing Jumpstart might zoom with the toddlers to read them a story and interact with them online. The time of Covid-19 calls for creativity and flexibility as our community partners come online and we can serve them with creative projects. At the same time, access to technology is a serious problem that heightens disparities. In this sense, helping organizations to get online may be an important project for community engagement classrooms.
Students can work with their community partners face to face, but they should follow health guidelines. With masks and social distancing, students may be able to work with their community partners in person. However, they should not be pressured to do so.
Community Engaged courses are in a unique position to help with the effects of Covid-19. Developing projects to assist essential workers are especially important right now, and teachers can reach out to see the opportunities for students and these partners. Student virtual work can also be valuable as organizations may need help updating and expanding their websites, for example. Covid-19 has changed the way we interact, but it has also built new opportunities for collaboration between classrooms and organizations.
- Slideshow: Intro to Community Engagement and Service Learning
- Video: What is Asset-Based Community Development?
- Reading: What is Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) Handout)
- Activity: Identity Web
- Activity: 2 Truths and a Lie
- Discussion: Your Experiences and Expectations- Reflecting on previous experiences related to your upcoming project can help plan and understand where you are coming from as you enter into this new opportunity. Consider the questions below and write a response. What has your experience been with community service or engagement? What does it mean to you? How can we be of service during/after the pandemic? Who might be communities or groups that would be looking for collaboration and/or support? What kinds of support can we offer? What questions, ideas or concerns does this bring up for you?
- Video: Interview with Bri, a service learning student
- Video: Interview with David, a service learning student
- Activity: Mapping Our Community
- Activity: Your Views on Community Engagement Live Poll
- Discussion: Working with Partners. Part 1 Brainstorm: Review the information you have about your community partner. Imagine you are in the shoes of either the staff lead or a person who is served by the organization. What 3 words would the partner use to describe the ideal service-learning student for their organization? In a couple of sentences for each, describe why you think they would choose these traits. Part 2 Read: “Dispositions” chapter from The Student Companion to Community-Engaged Learning [Use the World CAT Link here (Links to an external site.) to find this book in a library near you]. Authors David Donahue and Star Plaxton-Moore put forward their ideas for the states of mind that a student should have when they enter a service project. Part 3: Briefly reflect Do Donahue and Plaxton-Moore’s dispositions match up at all to your response in Part 1? Are they different? What do you make of the similarities and differences?
- Slideshow: Planning and On-boarding with Community Partners
- Reading: Factors to Consider in Community Engagement Planning and Work in Our Current COVID-19 Pandemic
- Activity: Community Asset Brainstorming
- Assignment: Reading & Telling Community Stories
- Assignment: Community Engaged Research and Writing
- Reading: Bri Jean-Laurent Project
- Project: Community Engaged Deliverable
- Lesson Plan: Bri Jean Laurent Jumpstart Lesson Plan #1
- Lesson Plan: Bri Jean-Laurent Jumpstart Lesson plan#2
- Lesson Plan: Bri Jean-Laurent Jumpstart Lesson Plan 3
- Readings and Resources:
- “Asset-Based Community Building and COVID-19” shared resource google document: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wJoxMP1Abqe_4QyOg8bsamxKZwTZEzqwrDeN-CN0Y8I/edit?usp=sharing (Links to an external site.)
- Lindenman, Heather. “What Changes When We ‘Write for Change?’: Considering the Consequences of a High School-University Writing Partnership.” Reflections, vol. 18, no. 1, 2018, pp. 8–38., reflectionsjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/CopyrightUpdates/Vol18N1/18n1Lindeman_Lohr.pdf. (Links to an external site.)
- Shah, Rachel W. et al “Fostering eABCD: Asset-Based Community Development in Digital Service-Learning.” Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement vol. 22, no. 2, 2018, pp 189-221. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/326253807_Fostering_eABCD_Asset-Based_Community_Development_in_Digital_Service-Learning (Links to an external site.)
- Service-Learning Portfolio Project Map Sample Assignment
- Assignment: Service-Learning Portfolio Cover Memo Guidelines
- Guide: You’re With Us Volunteer Guide Student Sample
- Example: St.Mark Profile Example
Bibliography of Additional Resources need to input.
Associate Teaching Professor of English
Emily Avery-Miller’s experience and areas of interest include: first-year writing, service-learning and civic engagement, and interdisciplinary writing and research. Her essays and short fiction have earned honorable mentions from New Millenniu…