Whether this is your first time teaching a service-learning course or you have been doing it for years,  designing or updating your course can feel both exciting and overwhelming. There are multiple considerations for both design and implementation of community-engaged teaching and the resources below are meant to support your thinking and practice in this space. Open the accordions below to access resources and information.

Backwards Design for Project- and Problem-Based Courses
  • This course blueprint can direct your thinking around the components for a community-engaged course.
  • As faculty and students use the syllabus as a roadmap for what the semester will entail, it is important to include information about how S-L is integrated into the course. Our program has created this resource to support you. We also highly recommend utilizing Campus Compact’s Syllabus Archive or Boston Civic Media for examples.
  • Problem- and Project-Based learning foundational materials from the Center for Advancing Teaching and Learning through Research.

Creating Belonging in Your Classroom
  • Foundational materials from CATLR on Fostering Belonging in your classroom
  • Intercultural Teaching Competency model for educator reflection and informing inclusive teaching practices.
Setting Learning Outcomes for a Community-Engaged Course

Learning outcomes are pivotal in the integration of community engagement into your course. These outcomes should be reflective of both the disciplinary content and the broader behavior-oriented outcomes you expect students to gain through the community-engaged course.

This tool can be utilized to guide members of our network to the learning outcomes for various contexts. We recommend including or adapting at least 1-2 of these community-engaged learning outcomes to your course.

Class Activities to Support Community-Engaged Learning

While the community-engaged component (whether project based or direct service) is a critical opportunity for students to meet learning outcomes, it is important to incorporate other assignments and in-class activities to support this experiential learning. Your S-LTA is critical in the planning and implementation of these activities and you can access a host of examples here.

Assessment of Student Learning

Assessing behavioral and conceptual learning outcomes can be challenging in a community-engaged course. This is especially true when much of the learning occurs outside the classroom and without formal or observable activity and assessment. The resources below share best practices and examples for assessing student learning through community engagement.

Assessing Service-Learning and Civic Engagement, Chapter 3, Student Impact

Hicks, et al. (2018) Student Development and Social Justice

This is also a helpful resource for sample outcomes, assessments, and activities.

FAQs for CETR Assessment Process

Our Community-Engaged Teaching and Research team is responsible for assessing the effectiveness of service-learning on a students’ personal growth. Our way of doing so each semester is by running a pre-post assessment process of students in all service-learning courses.

What do the assessments ask?

Sample Pre-Service Assessment

Sample Post-Assessment (S-L Student Final Evaluation)

Do all students need to complete the survey?

Yes – these assessments are more useful when we have higher response rates. Most important is that all students who complete the pre-service assessment ALSO complete the Final Evaluation.

If you need more time or do not wish to participate, please email our team at service-learning@northeastern.edu (or a staff member directly) and we will chat about your options.

Can I change questions on the survey?

No, we use the same survey link for all students. This helps us keep data consistent across our 50+ sections each semester.

What information will I (as faculty member or S-LTA) receive from the responses?

You will be able to view aggregate data and open response text, but no individual responses. We pull responses and to faculty members and S-LTAs the week following the due date. You are encouraged to utilize these responses as a “temperature” check of your students. It can guide you to knowledge around how well your students understand the role of their community-engaged activities within the course.