Impact – Summer 2019
Many of us look for ways to help students forge concrete connections between their academic studies and the real world. Universities encourage professors to develop community-based learning, allowing students to contribute to the community beyond their campus in a way that enhances their academic studies and enables them to create these connections.
Scholars have theorized the many benefits of community-based learning, but professors have many questions about how to implement community-based learning in practice. What does a successful community-based learning assignment look like? What are the different ways to assess students’ learning experiences in community-based learning assignments? How can one build effective partnerships with community organizations?
In these pages, you will find practical advice, theoretical framework, and firsthand accounts of community-engaged teaching across disciplines. Learn from professors who have designed assignments allowing students to complete community projects with refugees, prisoners, veterans, elementary school children, science museums, nursing homes, public libraries, and ESL populations. Students in an Anthropology course, for instance, conduct oral history interviews with refugees, and provide written transcriptions of the interviews that the refugees can then use as a learning tool in ESL classes. In a Science Methods class, students collaborate with an aquarium to produce meaningful exhibits that educate the public. First-year writing students work with veterans to create autobiographical films and write papers related to the project.
I hope you enjoy these provocative, informative, and inspiring essays.
Senior Lecturer of Humanities
Boston University College of General Studies