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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato


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Academic Service-Learning is "a credit-bearing educational experience in which students participate in an organized service activity that meets identified community needs and reflect on the service activity in such a way as to gain further understanding of the course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, and an enhanced sense of civic responsibility. Unlike extracurricular voluntary service, service-learning is a course-based service experience that produces the best outcomes when meaningful service activities are related to the course material through reflection activities such as directed writings, small group discussions, and class presentations.  Unlike practica and internships, the experiential activity in a service learning course is not necessarily skill-based within the context of professional education." (Bringle/Hatcher)

ASL and other forms of Community-Based Learning


Volunteerism: "The engagement of students in activities where the primary emphasis is on the service being provided and the primary intended beneficiary is clearly the service recipient."

Community Service: "The engagement of students in activities that primarily focus on the service being provided as well as the benefits the service activities have on the recipients (e.g., providing food to the homeless during the holidays). The students receive some benefits by learning how their service makes a difference in the lives of the service recipients."

Field Education: "Provides students with co-curricular service opportunities that are related to, but not fully integrated with, their formal academic studies. Students perform the service as part of a program that is designed primarily to enhance students' understanding of a field of study, while also providing substantial emphasis on the service being provided."

Internships: "Engage college students in service activities primarily for the purpose of providing students with hands-on experiences that enhance their learning or understanding of issues related to a particular area of study."

[Academic] Service-Learning: "Service-learning programs are distinguished from other approaches to experiential education by their intention to benefit the provider and the recipient of the service equally, as well as to ensure equal focus on both the service being provided and the learning that is occurring." [emphasis added]

**Taken from the article, "Service-learning: A balanced approach to experiential education" by Andrew Furco. The essay appears in the National Campus Compact's publication, Introduction to Service-Learning Toolkit.