These are Experiential Education strategies that connect what students learn in their courses to what they experience within the community. These community focused strategies can be organized in the following three sub-categories:
- Community Based Learning
Within this category students are provided with opportunities to make direct connections between the course content and community related experiences. These experiences range from observations and field notes on community events, to conducting interviews of community members and professionals, to field trips and visits to museums and sites of interest and relevance to their courses. In addition, this category includes any other international experiences built within the courses, as well as participation in exchange programs abroad. Students who are involved in traveling to other countries and immerse in their communities have the unique opportunity to learn authentically and at a more profound level about cultures, community histories, global development issues and international languages. For example, students may visit a country to practice and deepen their learning of a foreign language, or engage in activities that would allow them to acquire deep intercultural competence and understanding. Such community/international engagements should be credited and assessed through reflective and other assignments. For further information on Carleton University International Experiences opportunities explore this link.
2. Community Based Research
This category includes engagement in research projects that result from the collaboration between the instructor of the course and community partners. Such research projects are taking place within the community and they are highly relevant to the community and community members. Usually such projects are assigned to courses with 6 credits and require the length of a full year to be completed.
3. Community Service Learning
Community Service learning provides the opportunity to the students to immerse in real-world experiences by applying knowledge acquired in their course and addressing community issues, enhancing thus their academic progress (Eyler, 2002). It is a pedagogy that is based on the experience. Learning takes place through the delivery of service to the community. Examples of Community Service Learning could be the work offered in a shelter or food bank, or accessibility services provided to students with learning disabilities in schools. Such community service benefits the community partners in a direct way. The benefits for students range from opportunities of experience in applying skills and knowledge to deepened understanding of populations that are vulnerable, or study of complex social issues, strengthened critical thinking and leadership skills, and other (Taylor and Raykov, 2014). Community service is in alignment with the course learning objectives and is incorporated into the course through the assessment strategies and the evaluation process. For further information on CSL at Carleton University please visit the relevant website.
For further information on Community Focused education at Carleton university, please, visit the Discovery Centre website on Community Engagement.