Academic Service-Learning is a course-based, credit-bearing educational experience in which students
(a) Participate in an organized service activity that meets identified community needs
(b) 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.
(Bringle & Hatcher, A Service-Learning Curriculum For Faculty, 1995)
Academic Service-Learning enhances student learning by promoting opportunities for faculty and students to connect course content and theoretical knowledge to real life situations with community partners.
The service experience alone does not insure significant learning or that an effective experience has taken hold. Structured activities and opportunities for students to analyze and think about their experiences and what they learned must be in place.
Continuous reflection must take place during the planning, implementation and discussion phases. This is done by writing, speaking, sharing thoughts and demonstrating the project. The conclusions and intellectualization of the experiences are critical to learning.