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Community-Based Experiential Education : How To

Use this guide to find information for service learning, community service and related topics.


Where to Start? 

Changing your teaching methods can be daunting, but there is so much to gain by integrating community-based learning into your classroom. We have created an informative slideshow focused on the unique needs of Johnson & Wales faculty members and encourage you to view the presentation as a first step. The field of service-learning and community based experiential education is active and constantly growing, and we have linked to a number of excellent resources from leaders in the field.

Faculty Service-Learning Tutorial 

Before diving into course development and reaching out to potential community contacts, you will need to decide how you will want the project to function in your course.  Below is an overview of typical models of CBEE at Johnson & Wales.

Models of Community-Based Experiential Education at JWU

One Site Models-- Entire class works on projects for one nonprofit “client.”  Usually the client comes to the class at the beginning of the term to present information on its mission and programs, and answer any questions the students have before undertaking their projects.  Students are usually grouped into teams, but may work individually or as an entire class, depending on the project.  One Site Projects may be structured as:

  • One Site Consulting Competition Model – All students/groups undertake the same project for the client using course content.  They then “compete” to determine the best project to present to the client at the end of the term.  Other worthy projects can also be given to the client as well.
  • One Site Consulting Angle Model – Each student/team is assigned a different component or angle of a comprehensive class project for the client, using course content.  All of the groups present their projects to the client at the end of the term.
  • One Site Off-Site Model – Students/teams work to plan and execute an off-campus project for a client   (ie, event planning classes plan and implement a fundraiser or a special event).
  • One Site Ongoing Service Model – Students do weekly service with one community site related to course content and complete course-based written or oral reflection assignments to process and integrate their service experience with the course.  This works best for a program that requires a large number of volunteers.  This is typical of CSL1001.

Multiple Site Models

Multiple Site Consulting Model – Individual students or teams complete the same course-related project for different nonprofit clients.  Teams present their finished product to the client at the end of the term as part of their final course grade.

Multiple Site Ongoing Service Model – Students are required or may elect to do ongoing service related to course content.  They are able to choose from a number of approved community service sites, and all sites require similar service commitments and responsibilities.  The students then complete course-based written or oral reflection assignments to process and integrate their service experience with the course.  This is typical of CSL1001.

Course Development/Getting Started Resources

In addition to the resources provided in the Faculty Service-Learning Tutorial, these are comprehensive “toolkit” type resources that will be helpful to anyone in the process of developing or reworking a CBEE course.

Faculty Toolkit

Curriculum Development Resource Guide

Building and Sustaining Community Partnerships