Principles for Course Construction

In order to construct a service-learning course, faculty should consider four critical principles of a service-learning course.

  • Engagement
  • Reflection
  • Reciprocity
  • Public Dissemination

When designing a course, you should ask yourself if the course is addressing engagement, or more specifically, how the service component is serving a public good. Understanding what the course’s intent for the community is should begin the process as well as making sure the service will be valuable.

Once you have thought of the engagement principle, it is time to turn your attention to reflection which allows students to connect their course work to their service. In order for reflection to occur, there has to be a mechanism for it to done, whether it be through journals or presentations.

Third, consider whether reciprocity is evident between the service and the community. Each participant should serve the role as teacher and learner, so there is mutual benefit for the student, the organization, and the community.

Lastly, consider how your student’s service can be publicly disseminated so the public can see and benefit from the work of the students. Think of where the experience will exist after the classroom learning is over and how the public can use that experience.

Campus Compact. Heffernan, Kerrissa and Cone, Richard, “Course Organization.” Fundamentals of Service-Learning Course Construction. Providence, RI: Campus Compact, 2001.