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Service-Learning Linked Credit

What is it? A one-credit, Linked-Credit service-learning experience is 'linked' to a three- or four-credit host course. Student and faculty of the host course co-create the Linked-Credit course. Students apply course learning in a real world setting.

Content: 15-20 hours of service in an off campus, non-profit agency such as a school, nature preserve, youth group, court, hospital, Y, recreation program A paper in which students demonstrate what they have learned about the social issues they encountered.

Service Definition: By service Lasell intends that a student provides activities, programs, and/or support which directly benefits the non-profit agency. Generally speaking, interviews and observations are not considered to be direct service to the agency. (Please consult with Nickki Dawes for further clarification and ideas about Linked-Credit opportunities.)

Mechanics: Student and Faculty co-develop a one-page course syllabus; they agree upon a service site and a method in which the student will demonstrate his/her learning. Student and Faculty complete the Linked-credit Agreement form to which is attached the one-page syllabus. The syllabus and Agreement Contract are submitted to Byrd Hughes, Center for Community-Based Learning. She will expedite paperwork and the Registrar will assign a course designation number. The course is added to the student's course record for the Fall semester. The Linked-credit course will receive its own grade as long as the student passes the host course. The grade will be A through F.

Linked-Credit Faculty Tips for Your Consideration

The Linked-credit experience, as with other courses, often requires a certain amount of managing by the professor. After ten semesters of coordinating the LC courses, we offer you the following practices for your experimentation:

  • Before the student’s first visit to the site, discuss what the student knows about the organization and what he/she expects to get out of the experience
  • Encourage students to discuss their experience during host class (aside from any formal presentation)
  • Regularly ask student for LC update. Plan on having a brief mid-semester check-in.
  • Invite students to think about specific principles, practices, theories, pieces of information related to your course and encourage them to apply these as they process their Linked-credit experience. If there are specific text segments that would apply, feel free to refer students to them.
  • Encourage students to keep an hours’ log which is signed off by the site supervisor. Do not assume that the supervisors will automatically know the number of hours completed by the student.
  • Set a specific date by which all the hours and the reflection component are to be completed (which may or may not correspond to the last day of class).
  • Stipulate the consequences if the hours, quality of service provided, and reflection component are insufficient. (Remember that the LC grade can be totally different from the host course grade, but students must pass the host course in order for them to pass the LC component.) Know that students can fail the LC experience, just as they can fail other courses.
  • Encourage students to participate in the on-line Linked-credit survey which helps us evaluate and improve the program.
  • Provide for a reflective component which articulates clear criteria and helps stretch the student. If possible, the criteria should be identified early in the semester.