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March 08 , 2008


Creating Experiential Learning and Civic Engagement Through Online and Hybrid Courses


This book serves as an introduction to using online teaching technologies and hybrid forms of teaching for experiential learning and civic engagement. Service-learning has kept pace neither with the rapid growth in e-learning in all its forms nor with the reality that an increasing number of students are learning online without exposure to the benefits of this powerful pedagogy.

Eservice-learning (electronic service-learning) combines service-learning and on-line learning and enables the delivery of the instruction and/or the service to occur partially or fully online. Eservice-learning allows students anywhere, regardless of geography, physical constraints, work schedule, or other access limitations, to experience service-learning. It reciprocally also equips online learning with a powerful tool for engaging students.

In eservice-learning, the core components of service, learning, and reflection may take a different form due to the online medium—for example, reflection often occurs through discussion board interactions, journals, wikis, or blogs in an eservice-learning course. Moreover, the service, though still community-based, creates a world of opportunities to connect students with communities across the globe—as well as at their very own doorstep.

This book introduces the reader to the four emerging types of eservice-learning, from Extreme EService-Learning (XE-SL) classes where 100% of the instruction and 100% of the service occur online, to three distinct forms of hybrid where either the service or the instruction are delivered wholly on-line – with students, for instance, providing online products for far-away community partners – or in which both are delivered on-site and online. It considers the instructional potential of common mobile technologies – phones, tablets and mobile reading devices. The authors also address potential limitations, such as technology challenges, difficulties sustaining three-way communication among the instructor, community partner, and students, and added workload.

The book includes research studies on effectiveness as well as examples of practice such drafting grants for a community partner, an informational technology class building online communities for an autism group, and an online education class providing virtual mentoring to at-risk students in New Orleans from across the country.
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