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Jennifer Maddrell, adjunct faculty, Instructional Design and Technology, College of Education, Old Dominion University
Designing Authentic Online Educational Experiences through Service-Learning
Fostering opportunities for authentic and engaging real-life application of course content is a central challenge for designers and instructors in higher education programs. Given the time and geographic separation of the online learner from the instructor and the college or university, the task of offering applied learning experiences in an online course is an even greater challenge. Service-learning is an educational approach used extensively in traditional face-to-face programs to offer students opportunities to gain real-world experience while volunteering with organizations in their local campus communities. In this session, we will explore the design of e-service-learning in which these applied learning opportunities are incorporated into online and distance education programs. By considering the link between the subject-matter and desired learning outcomes of their courses, as well as the potential needs of nonprofits and other social enterprises, session participants will contemplate the design of service-learning experiences for their unique educational contexts. Recommended practices for service-learning client engagement, project management, student mentorship, and learner assessment will be discussed. In addition to an examination of the opportunities and benefits, the potential challenges of incorporating service-learning in an online education setting will also be considered, including recommendations to overcome the obstacles associated with the time and physical separation of participants.
Presentation at the 15th annual SLN SOLsummit 2014 February 27, 2014