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What is the difference between a service-learning and non-service-learning course?
What is the difference between a service-learning course and an internship?
How do I find a place to do my service learning?
What is reflection?
Am I required to volunteer?
How can I find out if a service-learning course will be offered next semester?
There should be no significant difference in workload. Faculty incorporate service learning into the course assignments and seek to balance the workload as they would any other course. This means that both the service learning and non-service learning professors will consider all of the out-of-class work necessary when designing their course. A non-service-learning course may, for example, have reading assignments, weekly quizzes, a mid-term and a final exam, and three research papers. A service-learning course may have reading assignments, 20 hours of service-learning, a mid-term and final exam, two or three short reflection papers, and one research paper.
Service learning and internships are both considered forms of "experiential learning," which is simply, "learning by doing." However, there are some differences.
Most faculty have identified specific agencies that have service opportunities that would meet the course learning objectives. Others may provide you with guidelines on the type of community agency or service experience that would be acceptable for the course, with the expectation that you obtain your professor's final approval.
Simply doing service does not mean that you are learning anything. Reflection is a critical component of service-learning. Reflection is taking time to thoughtfully consider the significance of your service experience to your personal growth, its impact on the community, and in your understanding of the course content. Reflection can take place in a number of ways: keeping a journal, classroom discussion, within written assignments, and even using various media (photography, poetry, etc). What is important is that you are thinking about your experience: what you observe, how you feel, how it relates to larger issues, etc.
Service-learning and volunteering are quite different. When you choose to volunteer your time to serve the community, you are not receiving any kind of compensation, and you are not necessarily volunteering for personal gain. With service-learning, you may perform similar activities, but it is with the purpose of specific personal gain (learning) and you receive a type of compensation for that learning (a grade). Service-learning is one type of course assignment that, like other assignments, is designed as a way for you to learn the course content. Your professor may expect students to read textbooks, attend course lectures, do library research, do service-learning, complete group projects, write papers, and take quizzes and exams. Since service-learning is part of the "whole package" of the class, it should be considered in the same way as other course assignments.
The Schedule of Classes now has an "S" or "141" notation to identify sections that include service-learning. However, not all service-learning courses have the designation in the class schedule. You may also contact the Center for Community Engagement at (562) 985-7131 for information on upcoming course offerings.