What is Service Learning?
There are many definitions of service-learning as summarized on the List of Definitions. At Miami Dade College (MDC) we underscore the difference between volunteerism and service-learning. The formal definition we use is as follows:
“Service-learning is a form of experiential education in which students engage in activities that address human and community needs together with structured opportunities for reflection designed to achieve desired learning outcomes.”
- Barbara Jacoby, Service-Learning in Higher Education, 1996
Faculty members use service-learning by:
- Incorporating service-learning into their class curriculum;
- Deciding whether it will be used as an option or as a requirement;
- Determining a set number of service hours to be completed;
- Including reflection activities and assignments that accompany the service experience.
- Offering students an appropriate service location (that matches course objectives) from the Institute for Civic Engagement and Democracy’s Online Placement List.
Miami Dade College service-learning students:
- Contact their chosen agency;
- Set up a meeting/interview with the agency contact;
- Complete the "Service-Learning Contract" with the agency contact;
- Complete the “Service-Learning Hour Report” after each shift worked at the agency site and present to agency supervisor for signature/verification;
- Present the agency supervisor with “Agency Evaluation” at the end of the service assignment which will be completed and then given to the professor.