Teaching Community-based Learning Courses Online During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Teaching community-based learning (CBL) courses online may be challenging for many of us as it forces us to adapt and make changes to our courses. While we continue to grasp with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Community Engagement would like to offer a few suggestions, Ideas, and resources to assist you as you shift your CBL courses online.

Here is what you need to do:

  1. Inform your students that all service to community service is suspended immediately. The suspension of service hours will not affect their grades.  Explain the changes that will need to take place with the course, including revised assignments and activities.
  2. Reach out to community partners and explain the current situation to them.
    • Explore ways you and your students may still be supportive during this social distancing period, when students cannot physically be on site.
    • Are their ways for students to still be involved virtually, e.g. phone, or Internet?
    • Think about what processes may community partners want to put in place for future service opportunities?
    • When the University reverts to in-person classes, community partners may not be ready to accommodate students for various reasons so you may want to have a plan in place.

Here is the 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.

Critical Reflection

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:

  1. Leadership and Responsibility
  2. Is crisis a destructive force or an opportunity for renewal?
  3. How should we respond to crisis?
  4. What are our responsibilities as citizens? Who or what are we responsible for?
  5. Use Online Civic-Minded Games

Here are links to additional resources from other organizations and engaged institutions

Please note the Office of Community Engagement is open and available to consult with faculty virtually. We can schedule a phone call, a meeting through Microsoft 365 Team or some other medium. Please feel free to contact us via phone, 852-6026 or e-mail Henry Cunningham. We are here to assist you.