Service Learning

Syllabus Guidelines

A syllabus for a course which incorporates community-based learning provides evidence of this component of the educational experience. Students should be able to independently analyze the syllabus to gain knowledge of the role community-based learning will have in the course.

The main components are:

  • Description of community-based learning experience
  • Goals and objectives of these experiences for students and for community partners
  • Opportunities for structured reflection on the connections between academic content and service provided

The presence of these components can be indicated in the following ways:

  • Course description which includes description of community-based learning approach for the course
  • Learning objectives for students which address the community-based service experience
  • General service objectives for community partners
  • Projects/assignments related to the community service experience
  • Readings/discussions/presentations (i.e. course content) related to the community service experience, illustrating a deliberate connection between the academic content and the community service experience
  • Opportunities for structured reflection as evidenced in assignments, journals, discussions, and other mechanisms set out explicitly in syllabus
  • Assessment of community experience as an explicit component of determining grading for the course
  • Evidence of integration of the community-based experience with other methods of instruction and learning

While it is not necessary to include every one of these on a syllabus, their inclusion will obviously help the student, the instructor, and the community partner.

*This guide was adapted from a document at the homepage of the Center for Academic Excellence at Portland State University and is distributed with their permission.