Service-Learning Project Planning Guide

Purpose of this Section

This section includes prompts to help you think through the objectives of a service-learning
project for your course as well as the details of how the project might be carried out.

Early in the process, please seek approval from your department chair for incorporating
a service-learning activity into the class.

  1. Develop your responses to these prompts as fully as you are able.
  2. Confer with the Office of Academic Service-learning if you have questions or concerns.
  3. When you have a reasonably well-defined project in mind, click the button below to log in
    to our on-line project form, and fill in as much as you can.

    link to on-line project form

  4. You can return to the on-line form to fill in details as you develop your project.
  5. Add details of the service-learning project to your syllabus. How?

Design a Service-Learning Project

(Question numbers refer to questions on our on-line project form)

Course Design (Questions 1 - 7)

Elements of a project

Consider these Issues

Identify a Community partner or partners with whom you might want to work
(Question 1)
  1. Identify in broad terms the community issue or sector that you are interested in addressing through the project, for example health, environmental quality, senior citizens, financial literacy, etc…
  2. Review the list of community-based organizations with which faculty have established relationships.
  3. If you need help identifying a community partner, contact the service-learning team.
  4. If you have a potential project and partner already in mind, review your ideas with the service-learning team.
Think about what type of activity(ies) the students can perform
(Question 1)
  • It is generally easier for students to be involved in service-learning if most of the activities take place during class time.
  • Project activities must meet the time and location needs of the partner.
  • Identify the main type of product your students can produce, such as a:
    • brochure
    • presentation
    • analysis
    • laboratory activity(ies)
    • map
    • drawing
    • video
    • food drive
    • workshop
    • poster
  • Is there an activity or assignment that you usually use in class for which the service-learning project can substitute? Here are some examples:
    • Business and math classes have analyzed data that was collected through their service-learning project rather than use theoretical data.
    • Science and Technology classes have done lab activities with visiting high school students instead of on their own.
    • Speech classes have made speeches to community groups instead of to each other.
    • Design students have created posters for specific community events instead of on assigned themes
Meet QCC General Education Objectives
(Question 2)
Which QCC General Education objectives do you want to meet through a service-learning project?
For a list of the QCC Gen Ed objectives, click here.
Meet Course Objectives
(Question 3)
Which course objectives do you want to meet through a service-learning project?
For information on how to write course objectives, click here.
Think about logistics
(Questions 4, 5 & 7)
  • Will the activities take place on campus or off campus
  • How much time does each activity need, including time for transportation if needed
  • Will all students in the class participate, or will this be an honors or extra credit project available to a subset of students
  • Supervision. In general, QCC students are supervised by their professor, but there can be exceptions.
  • Supplies you may need. Supplies must be for the use of your students, not for acquisition by the partner
  • If students are creating a product such as a poster or brochure that will be given to the partner for their use, please contact the Office of Academic Service-Learning
Time commitment
(Question 6)

12 hours of combined direct service and indirect service for each student are recommended

  • Indirect Hours - time during which students are not directly engaging with the partner or the partner’s clients or resources. Examples:
    • research
    • creating materials
    • setting up
    • practicing
    • putting together a final product
    • writing reflections
  • Direct Hours - time during which students directly engage with the partner or the partner’s clients or resources. Examples:
    • making a presentation
    • tabling at an event
    • interviewing
    • doing field work

Learning Outcomes (Questions 8 - 12)

Elements of a project

Consider these Issues

Meet Learning Outcomes
(Questions 8, 9 &10)
Service-learning at QCC must meet at least one of the following Learning Outcomes. Which one(s) will your project meet, and how will they meet it/them?
  • Student will be able to apply course content to the needs of a community partner.
  • Student will be able to recognize his or her capacity to impact the community partner.
  • Student will be able to explain how the service-learning project changed or affected their perspecitve on a community issue.
Bringing it all together –
do the pieces all fit?

(Question 11)

Summarize the activities and tasks that the students will complete to carry out the project.

Main Product
Identify the main product of the project, such as a brochure, presentation, analysis, laboratory activity(ies), map, drawing, video, food drive, workshop, poster, etc.

Community Needs
Clarify how the activities and tasks will meet the partner’s goals and needs.

Course Objectives
Clarify how the activities and tasks will increase students’ learning in order to meet the course and General Education learning objectives.

Student orientation to the role and mission of the partner
(Question 12)
How will the students learn about the partner’s role and mission?

Please contact the Office of Academic Service-Learning if you would like our staff to arrange for a speaker either from your partner organization or from the OASL.

Reflection and Assessment Activities (Questions 13 - 15)

Elements of a project

Consider these Issues

How are service-learning activities assessed?

Service-learning activities are assessed through students' reflection activities.

Students must demonstrate that they have made connections between classroom theory and the service-learning activities.

Assessment is based on students’ metacognition of classroom knowledge applied to an authentic community task.

Assessment is not based on the number of hours that the student spent at the site or on an assignment.

Student reflections on the issues and their learning
(Question 13)
What types of reflection methods will you assign to your students?
  • The Office of Academic Service-Learning can provide you with:
    • Reflection prompts for your students to use before, during and after their service-learning project
    • A facilitator who will engage your students in reflection activities at a time convenient to you and the students
  • Please contact the OASL to obtain the reflection prompts and/or arrange for a facilitator.
Evaluation of student reflections
(Question 14)
How will you evaluate the students’ reflections?

The Office of Academic Service-Learning will provide a rubric for use with our reflection prompts. 

If you are using a different reflection method, how will you evaluate it?