Engaging with the Community Virtually
The University of Louisville is committed to community engagement and collaboration with our many partners near and far. As the University and the rest of the world deals with a global pandemic, faculty, staff, and students are reminded of the Pivot to Fall planning document and the COVID-19 site, as we plan for engagement with our community partners. Consult these resource documents to learn how the University is responding to COVID-19 and guidelines offered. While some in-person engagement with the community will be able to continue, faculty and staff must be mindful that it must be done in a safe and responsible manner as per the Pivot to Fall planning document and the COVID-19 Site.
Here are some specific suggestions to guide your planning and work.
Recommendation for Outreach Activities (Providing direct services, time, or resources to benefit a community or its institutions. This includes instances of public intellectualism such as talks, lectures, presentations, performances, etc.)
- Guidelines for on campus activities also apply to activities in the community.
- For small events, such as meetings, adhere to on campus meetings and classroom size limitations, physical distancing, room configurations, and wearing of masks.
- If you are hosting a meeting or other event in the community, you may need to provide masks for those who may not have one.
- Explore the possibility of conducting events virtually using one of the available platforms.
Recommendations for Faculty Teaching and Research
There are some situations where some students are required and are able to engage in internships, field placements, and other community-based learning activities in-person and on-site. Proper safeguards must be put in place for the protection of students and those with whom they will be interacting. Consult the Pivot to Fall document and the COVID-19 site to determine safeguards the University has in place for classroom settings and apply those to the community setting. Contact your community partner to determine what safeguards they have in place to protect students and to determine if they meet the University standard guidelines for on campus classes.
It is recommended that faculty explore remote service as much as possible such as indirect, research-based, or advocacy-based projects, which can be done without in-person contact with community partners. Contact your community partner to find out how you and your students can engage with them remotely.
Examples of indirect, research-based, or advocacy-based community-based learning include:
- Advocacy within the university community, including working with students on civic engagement projects or projects that raise awareness or take action on issues of unequal access or outcomes in higher education
- Conducting video or phone interviews, designing surveys, or analyzing historical documents or existing data.
- Conducting research, assessment, or evaluation in collaboration with a community partner
- Deliverables created for a community partner, such as digital media or social media content, print materials, logos, or handbooks
- Creating virtual educational materials such as videos, webinars or streaming a presentation or performance
Examples of direct service offered in a virtual or contactless setting include:
- Tutoring or mentoring through video conferencing platforms if your community partner has the appropriate technology
- Conducting well checks over the phone, for those in health care
- Hosting or assisting with a virtual event for a partner organization
- Allowing students to locate and select their own virtual service opportunities (resources available at Nine Places to Volunteer Online)
Use critical reflection as a means to involve students to think critically about current situations and our own values. It is a great way to involve students to think critically about issues impacting our community if they cannot physically engage with these issues. The Center for Civic Reflection has a wealth of information, activities, and videos that can be incorporated into your online teaching. These already developed plans can be used with your students in your online instructions. Here are a few examples on selected topics:
Resources for Faculty
Here are some resources on community-based learning as you plan your course during a pandemic
- Here is a link to see a webinar on teaching CBL (service learning) courses online, presented by Jonathan H. Westover, Ph.D., MPA, SFHEA, AFCIPD, Associate Professor at Utah Valley University.
- International Association for Research on Service Learning and Community Engagement
- Iowa Campus Compact
- Indiana University, Bloomington
- Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis IUPIU
- Rutti, R. M., LaBonte, J., Helms, M. M., Hervani, A. A., & Sarkarat, S. (2016). The service learning projects: Stakeholder benefits and potential class topics. Education+ Training, 58(4), 422-438. Ideas and suggestions of using community-based learning in various disciplines.
- Helms, M. M., Rutti, R. M., Hervani, A. A., LaBonte, J., & Sarkarat, S. (2015). Implementing and evaluating online service learning projects. Journal of Education for Business, 90(7), 369-378.
- Ellis, S. J. & Cravens, J. (2000). The virtual volunteering guidebook: How to apply the principle of real-world volunteer management to online service. Palo Alto, CA: Impact Online, Inc.
- Mahauganee D. Shaw, (2016). Pathways to Institutional Equilibrium after a Campus Disaster https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1468-5973.12128
Recommendations for Community Partners
The University of Louisville values its relationship with you and want to do our part to collaborate with you to address the many needs in our community. However, COVID-19 forced us to modify the way we engage with you. Because of health concerns, our faculty and students may not be able to engage directly with you in person but may have do so remotely. We are sorry about these changes but find this necessary to ensure the health of everyone. The University of Louisville is adhering to State and CDC guidelines on how we interact with community partners and we encourage you to do the same. We expect you to adhere to those protocols to protect our faculty and students. Please refer to the University’s Pivot to Fall document and related website to learn how we are operating amidst the pandemic.
You are encourage to contact your faculty partner or the Office of Community Engagement (852-6026) to explore how you can continue to collaborate with the University remotely.
Think of how faculty and students can still engage with you without being there in-person such as:
- Writing cards, sending letters, or collecting clean items (such as toys, hats and scarves, or blankets for homeless individuals, or seniors)
- Assist with conducting research, assessment, or evaluation for your organizations
- Becoming social media ambassadors, hosting online fundraisers or donation drives, or raising awareness of your organization and related social issues through advocacy
- Offering a skilled service that they can do remotely, such as web development, graphic design, writing/editing, translation, or video production
- Offering online delivery of services such as financial coaching, tutoring and mentoring, enrichment activities or classes, or theater or musical performances
- Recording theater or musical performances, audiobooks, or how-to videos