Students in a service learning class

Planning a service learning course

Step 1: Preliminaries
semester before

  1. Identify the course you want to target for service learning.  Recommendation: Focus on one service learning course per semester, especially if you are new to service learning.  Browse past and current service learning courses at Loyola and view examples.
  2. Read and review SL course criteria.
  3. Decide whether service learning will be optional or required.  If optional, decide what the non-service learning alternative will be.  Ensure that the two options are roughly equivalent in terms of time and effort.  Pros and cons>>
  4. Submit the course title for SL designation in LORA by filling out the Course Submission Form.  Courses should be submitted the semester before you intend to teach the course, before registration begins.
Teach a service learning course in Submit courses by
Spring 2014 Friday, October 25, 2013
Fall 2015 Friday, March 21, 2014

Step 2:  Basic structure & design

  1. List the course's learning objectives. Identify the ones you associate most strongly with service learning. How do you think service learning will contribute to students' achievement of these learning objectives? Rephrase one or two learning objectives to make specific reference to service learning and its role.  Include these objectives on your syllabus.  At least one specific service learning objective is required for all service learning courses and will be included on the course webpage.
  2. Choose a service learning model (project or placement).
  3. Select community partner(s).  One of the criteria for all service learning courses at Loyola is that service activities must be performed in partnership with an identifiable agency or organization.  All service learning partners must have a signed Memorandum of Understanding on file prior to the commencement of service learning activities.  Faculty members may develop and lead their own partnerships or draw on Loyola's current partner agencies.  Tips for effectively collaborating with community partners>>
  4. Decide how much time students will be expected to spend on service learning.  Consider the overall workload for the class and factor service learning time into this total.  Time commitment should be proportional to grading weight.  Students are eligible for transcript notations if they document 15 hours of time and effort on a service learning course in a semester.  
  5. Decide on a grading procedure.

Step 3: Planning for integration and reflection

  1. Identify several points throughout the semester when you can include service learning reflection in specific assignments, discussions or lessons.  Review your syllabus to identify texts, topics and thematic areas which invite a connection to service learning.  Plan in-class and out-of-class reflection activities around these points of integration.
  2. Use this syllabus rubric to assess how well you've integrated service learning into the course.

additional resources