HE-SL Listserv

COVID-19 and Community-Based Learning/Service-Learning Courses

Posted on March 24, 2020

The closing of colleges and universities will clearly affect students who are involved in community-engaged learning, service-learning, or volunteer experiences. Below are suggestions for adapting community-based learning and service-learning courses to our new reality. These suggestions appeared on the HE-SL (Higher Education Service-Learning) Listserv.

Buffalo State, the State University of New York

We ask that faculty contact community partners directly to determine the best way for community projects to be completed remotely.  Students may still be able to conduct project-based or indirect activities to meet community priorities and course requirements. Alternatives to discuss with your community partners might include:

  • conducting background research or gathering best practices or other information requested the partner(s);
  • taping, recording, or streaming performances or workshops to benefit community partner(s);
  • creating digital and other social media content, print program materials, or other methods for information-sharing;
  • undertaking assessment, evaluation, or feedback via phone or web-based services;
  • offering (or compiling, researching, or brainstorming) strategies that provide indirect support from volunteers as a result of coronavirus;
  • conducting virtual or phone-based educational supports for youth and adults.

San Francisco State University

This may or may not be helpful for service-learning specific courses yet the resources just developed here in San Francisco could be useful and adapted.  Our folks have created a new resource called “Instructional Continuity at SF State” – this applies to SF State University yet, no doubt, could be adapted for other universities and SL components woven in.  This site has a “Keep Teaching: Instructor Quick Guide” and a “Keep Learning – Student Quick Guide”.  See if this is hepful:  https://instructionalcontinuity.sfsu.edu/

University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College

Professor Kegley is working with students to allow them to do presentations through WebEx and Video methods. Her class has worked collaboratively to develop some ideas among the students for making videos:

  • A quick Google or YouTube search will pull up tutorials for just about any program

Utah Valley University

Professor Westover shared the link to his recent Advance HE Webinar on doing service-learning in an online class: https://youtu.be/6IOJqutSedw

Loyola University Chicago

These questions were created by Susan Haarman in the Loyola University Chicago’s Center for Experiential Learning to help service-learning instructors and students reflect on the intersection of their learning and the COVID-19 outbreak: https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn%3Aaaid%3Ascds%3AUS%3A04f43d01-5b9e-4f24-9ce3-1012874c3944

Indiana University

From Professor Valliant:

On the general teaching front, the IU Keep Teaching site is helpful for moving online and is regularly reviewed as we gather information to improve our responses. The IU Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning has other teaching resources to compliment KT:

Retrieval practice seems like a promising tool to use previous reflections and service to access knowledge when in-person service is preempted.

Anecdotally, many of our instructors are talking about the emotional load this puts on students and how they can respond in supportive ways. For CEL, this translates to clearly communicating expectations, especially easing completion of service hours or pivoting service to other engagement ideas. The Minnesota Campus Compact post is helpful in this regard.


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