Frequently Asked Questions About Community Based Service Learning
We have tried to anticipate some of your concerns as you begin to develop your service learning course by providing preliminary answers to some of the most frequently asked questions from faculty who have already implemented a community based service learning component in their course:
When should I contact the Shaw Center?
Contact the Shaw Center as early as possible prior to the semester in which your course will offer a community based service learning component. This will allow us more time to work with you to plan your community service experience.
How many hours of service should my students be required to complete?
Minimally 15 hours, preferably 25-30 hours per semester. This range provides a better learning opportunity and a chance for students to develop more meaningful relationships with members of the Syracuse community.
What sort of training do my students need?
That depends on the site and is usually provided by agency staff. Shaw Center provides a required Community Orientation at the beginning of each semester.
Should students work individually or in groups?
Preferably individually. However, on occasion, students have worked together at the same site.
What do students do at their sites?
Depending on the needs of the site and the requirements of the course, students may be exposed to a variety of tasks including answering phones, tutoring, friendly visiting, creating web sites, brochures and manuals.
How will my students get to their sites?
Shaw Center provides transportation to service learning students. They also have the option of walking to sites located near the SU campus, or using public transportation.
What if students do not fulfill their community service course requirement?
It is up to the professor/instructor to determine what the impact will be on a student’s grade if she/he does not complete the required service. Shaw Center will be glad to discuss several options.
Are there liability issues I need to be thinking about?
In fact, there are. Service as a course requirement increases the institutional liability. But, the Shaw Center works closely with the SU Risk Management Department to establish policies that address these issues. We will be glad to discuss these issues and mitigation’s with you as part of our planning process.
Are my students breaking confidentiality agreements by speaking and writing about their experiences?
If students use their experiences in the class, using pseudonyms, there should not be issues with confidentiality. However, if students plan to write or speak about their experiences outside of the classroom they need to negotiate the terms of such work with the site and their professor/instructor. The Shaw Center will be glad to assist in this process.