Community-based learning (CBL) (also known as service-learning) at American University is an academic, course-based pedagogy that extends and deepens classroom-based learning through meaningful involvement with a community agency, nonprofit organization, or school.
Through a planned collaboration between the professor/class and community partners, all stakeholders benefit from the CBL experience, both by meeting course objectives and addressing community-identified goals and needs.During the course of the semester, students critically process and reflect on their experiences to heighten their engagement with central academic themes, bridge theory and practice, and contribute to clarification of their own personal values, career goals, and sense of social responsibility. Student-produced CBL service, projects, or research contribute positively to the community or organization.
Activities and assignments in the class provide a method or means for students to critically reflect on what they are learning through their community experience. These activities can take multiple forms, including group discussions, online reflective questions, journals, and participatory activities.
Assessment of service-learning courses is essential. Evaluative feedback is needed from: (1) students, (2) community partner(s), and (3) the faculty member. CCES offers tools to achieve this criteria and will need access to this data.