FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT COURSE BASED SERVICE LEARNING

• Do I get course credit for the service that I provide to the agency?

You do receive course credit, but not simply for performing a service. Credit is received for the learning that takes place during the service experience. Consult with your course professor regarding how you will be graded and the value of the grade. You may be asked to write a reflection paper, keep a journal, do an in-class presentation, or some other form of reporting. It is the learning that is graded, not the experience. The community partner acts as a living classroom for the learning to take place.

• Can I do Service Learning anywhere I want?

Service Learning can only be performed with an approved community partner that is on the list selected by your instructor or approved by Service Learning program staff. If you have a suggestion that is not on the list, consult with your professor or the Service Learning office.

• Is there transportation available to the service learning sites?

No, transportation is not available, but most sites are within walking distance of campus. For students who have vehicles, there are options within a 10-20 minute drive. For students who commute from a neighbouring community, or who go home every weekend, a service learning experience can be arranged in their home community.

• What happens if I cannot complete my Service Learning at the agreed-upon agency site?

Every effort must be made to complete your agreed-upon service learning experience. The agency is depending on your presence to offer their program. If there are extremely extenuating circumstance, a valid reason must be presented for failure to complete the Service Learning experience. Contact must be made with your course professor, the site supervisor and the Service Learning office to inform them of your departure from the program and the reasons for the departure. Your professor will determine the effect this departure will have on your grade.

• What if I don’t like the Service Learning experience that I have chosen?

The vast majority of students have a very positive experience with their community partner. Occasionally, a student may be unhappy with their site. If this is the situation for you, please talk to someone. Consult with your professor or the Service Learning program staff. Is there something that we can do to change the experience? Do you need more or different support at the site? Are there other services that you can provide for this host organization? Most issues can be resolved in a manner that is acceptable to all parties involved.

• Can I continue providing service in the community once my required Service Learning hours are completed?

Yes. The Service Learning experience is often an introduction to a new organization, new group of people, or new skills for many students. You are free to volunteer at the organization, if they would like you to do so. Consult with the site supervisor to see if they have different policies or procedures that apply to general volunteers, as opposed to students. Advise them that you will continue as a volunteer. And please let us know at the Service Learning office! We like to celebrate your successes. Continuing to provide service on your own is a clear sign of a successful Service Learning experience.

• How do I get involved in service learning?

If your professor is offering a service-learning option, details will be provided in class. The professor will outline the type of service learning experience offered in that class, whether it is mandatory or optional, and the assignment that is attached to the service-learning experience. Another option is IDS 306 Service Learning Theory and Practice, a 3-credit course open to 3rd and 4th year students in any discipline. Consult the academic calendar for more information.

• I would like to take another course with a Service Learning component next year. How do I find out about other courses?

The Service Learning Program produces a list of courses that will be offering a Service Learning component. Consult our Service Learning web site at www.sites.stfx.ca/service_learning the link "Course Offerings" on the left side of the page. Or approach the faculty members who are teaching your courses to see if they are interested in including a Service Learning component. Program staff are available to meet with interested faculty and assist them in developing a Service Learning option. In addition, IDS 306: Service Learning, Theory and Practice is a 3-credit course that is open to third and fourth year students in all disciplines. Consult the academic calendar or the Service Learning Office for more information.

• Who do I contact if I have questions?

You can contact one of the following