Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is service learning?
Service Learning is a teaching and learning strategy that combines meaningful community service with classroom instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility and strengthen communities. As a form of experiential education, service learning achieves and enhances course objectives while meeting an identified community need.

2. What are the goals of service learning?
Service learning combines service to the community with student learning in a way that improves both the student and the community. As students participate in their community service projects, actively meeting the needs of communities, they develop practical skills, discover their passion and learn the importance of civic responsibility. 

3. How does service learning differ from community service or volunteering?
Community service, also known as volunteering, is volunteer action taken to meet the needs of others and better the community as a whole. Service learning is integrated into and enhances the academic curriculum and course outcomes, while also meeting an identified community need. Service learning is reciprocal in that both the recipient, the community partner, and the volunteer, the student, benefit. Service learning also provides a structured time for thoughtful planning of the service project and guided reflection by participants on the service experience. Overall, the most important feature of effective service learning is that both learning and service are emphasized.

4. Is service learning a new idea?
The practice of service learning dates back much further than the term itself, beginning with educational movements and social change in the late 1880s. The intellectual foundations of service learning in the United States traces back to the early 1900s with the work of John Dewey, William James and others who promoted the model of “learning by doing,” and linked service to personal and social development. The term “service learning” was coined by two educators in 1967 to describe the combination of conscious educational growth with the accomplishment of certain tasks that meet genuine community needs.

5. What is the history of the LCCC Service Learning Program?
The Service Learning Program at LCCC is a grass-roots movement among faculty, staff and community partners who believe in the potential of civically engaged education to transform the lives of students and the Lorain County community. The Service Learning Program is currently in its fourth year and is building a steady momentum.  The Service Learning Program is funded by the three year Learn and Serve sub-grant from the American Association of Community Colleges, Community Colleges Broadening Horizons through Service Learning. The Service Learning Program is in its second cycle of the three year sub-grant and has a grant focus of “No Child Left Inside.” See press release.

6. How many hours of service learning are required per student at LCCC?
Keeping in mind the fact that Service Learning is NOT graded upon the service (hours), but on the learning... generally at LCCC 15-20 hours for a regular 16 week course is recommended.

7. Can students participate in a service learning project when they are not in class i.e., summer break?
No, service learning is a curricular experience, so if they are not in class, it is not service learning but volunteerism. 

8. What can students do for a service learning project?
The service learning project looks different depending on the course you are taking. Often, professors will have service learning as an option to a more traditional assignment like a term paper. Your professor will tell you about the service learning project, the community partners, required hours and reflection assignment.

9. How do students find a service learning course?
Students can ask their professor, view the current service learning faculty member's Faculty Profiles when creating their course schedule, or contact the Service Learning Office for more information - 440-366-4076. 

10. Where can students do their service?
The kind of service you do will depend on the course, your professor’s preferences, your own interest and the availability of a particular placement.

11. Can students continue their service after the course?
Most of our community partners would love to have students continue their service after the term is over. Check with your site supervisor to find out how.

12. What are students graded on?
Students are graded not on the service, but on the learning that takes place because of their service experience. The learning is evaluated through reflection exercises designed by the course instructor. 

13. What is reflection?
Critical reflection is a process specifically structured to help students examine their service experience. The reflection process pushes students to reframe their questions and conclusions about their service experience. In practice it is the critical reflection that provides the link between the action of serving and the ideas and understanding of learning (Eyler, 1996).

“Service, combined with learning, adds value to each and transforms both.” (Honnet and Poulsen, 1989)

14. What is an appropriate reflection exercise?
The course instructor is responsible for deciding what type of reflection exercise is appropriate for each course and service learning project. Reflection exercises can be almost anything; a journal, a paper, a classroom presentation or even class discussion.

However, the Service Learning Program at LCCC encourages faculty to incorporate reflection before and after the service learning project. Completing a reflection exercise before and after the project allows the student to evaluate how their framework of thought has changed.

15. Where is the Service Learning Program located at LCCC?
LCCC’s Service Learning Program is located in Career Services on the first floor of the the Barbara and Mike Bass Library/Community Resource Center.