Example Courses & Syllabi

Examples of Service-Learning Courses

Note: Courses with service-learning components may be offered only once, repeatedly, or as a part of only one section of a course with multiple sections. Focus of topics and projects, partnering community agencies, and offerings within schools and departments may be subject to change each semester. Please consult department advisors or faculty and current course listings for details on specific courses.

The sample syllabi provided are examples of exemplary service-learning classes. However, information about university resources, contact information, for instance, may not be current. Be sure to confirm information is accurate if borrowing sections from these example syllabi.

Education (EDUC)

G203 (EDUC) Communication in the Classroom. This honors section of the course has students learn and practice new communication skills as well as refine old ones. Students deliberately examine themselves as learners and teachers through creating, discussing, reading, listening, demonstrating, practicing, observing, and writing—all different ways to experience communication. Students practice and apply their skills in different environments by providing services at the Boys and Girls Club or Pinnacle School and reflect on these experiences during class and in writing assignments.

Fine Arts (FINA)

S250 (FINA) Graphic Design I. This course includes drawing and perception in the history and practice of visual communication, including a basic introduction to the field and exercises with pencil, marker, computer, and other tools, to produce symbols, letter forms, and symbol-letter combinations; the application of color theory, perspective, basic drawing composition and typography, and the combination of these elements for the role of non-verbal communication. The goals of this course are the development of basic visual and craft skills used by the designer through fundamental exercises. Students work with community partners such as City of Bloomington Parks and Recreations Department to create posters or other visual communication needs.

English (ENG)

W240 (ENG) Community Service Writing: Leadership and Civic Engagement. This research-based writing course asks students to use ‘fieldworking’ as their investigative lens by taking notes, conducting interviews, doing observation, searching archives, and constructing visual representations of one local community agency where each student chooses to serve. Students develop written communication skills for diverse audiences as well as learning how to write across several genres - including memoir, autoethnography, popular history, and theory—helping them and others to question, formulate, challenge, and re-formulate its notions of what it means to "lead" and be "civically engaged."

W321 (ENG) Advanced Technical Writing: Professional Writing and Document Design. This course explores the design and composition of creating and writing professional, effective documents such as reports, proposals, process and procedure descriptions, brochures, announcements, online documents such as web pages, etc. In addition to essential concepts and theories of document design, students learn how design choices have very real, specific consequences for how persuasive texts are in the purposes that they seek to accomplish. Students will complete various short writing and design assignments as well as a semester project, which will be the writing and design of a longer document needed by a community agency.

Journalism (JOUR)

J360 (JOUR) Public Relations Writing. This class concentrates on developing public relations/communications tools for a client: press releases, persuasive memoranda, presentations, issue papers or backgrounders, a crisis communications plan and promotional pieces. Students who take the course need to have completed a Principles of PR class and two classes in reporting/writing/editing. Students meet with staff of local community agencies or organizations to learn the needs and tailor the work to meet them.

Liberal Arts and Management Program (LAMP)

L316 (LAMP) Statistical Models for Decision Making in Business. Students spend more than half the semester learning and exploring analytical tools, including basic data analysis, forecasting, optimization and simulation as a starting point, to demonstrate how they are used to solve significant problems. This is an inquiry course that takes a community question, working with both private and public sector clients, and creates an instrument to gather data. Students work in teams on these data-gathering projects, analyzing and presenting the data in a document format.

Biology (BIOL)

B401 (BIOL) Human Biology. In this senior capstone course students investigate watershed quality and connect their findings to the Hoosier Riverwatch program database in addition to advocating for the health of community watersheds by participating in the Storm Drain Marking Program. Students work in teams on different aspects and locations of the project with community partners such as City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation and Utilities Departments, Monroe County partners, and Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Students share their watershed investigations at a poster session at the end of the semester.

Chemistry (CHEM)

G201 (CHEM) Service Learning in Chemistry. Students in this 1-credit course work within the community to foster interest, knowledge and appreciation for the sciences. The goals of this course are to: 1) increase awareness of community and community concerns, 2) enhance understanding of general chemistry fundamentals by integrating classroom knowledge and community, 3) develop communication and presentation skills for a range of audience age and education levels, 4) use direct experience and reflection as a process of learning, and 5) to work together as undergraduate chemistry students, teachers, and university faculty to develop science lessons, demonstrations, and hands on activities to meet community needs. Students may visit afterschool programs to demonstrate elementary chemistry concepts using hands on engaging activities.

Computer Science (CSCI)

A110 (CSCI) Introduction to Computers and Computing. In this course, students are introduced to how computers work, word processing, spreadsheets, file management, Web browsing, etc with an emphasis on problem-solving techniques. Students work with community partner agencies (such as Campus Children's Center, Hoosier Hills Food Bank, and Circles) as clients to create a Webpage according to their needs.

Geography (GEOG)

G411/G511 (GEOG) Sustainable Development Systems. This course explores spatial and geographic dimensions of sustainability. In addition, students examine the role of spatial relationships in social-ecological systems, including the interplay between local, regional, and global systems that affect the potential for sustainability at these different scales. Content will cover both social biophysical aspects of sustainability, and the tradeoffs that often exist between the two. Students work on a variety of projects, mostly supporting IU Operations and other sustainability initiatives.

Health, Physical Education, and Recreation (HPER)

N336 (HPER) Community Nutrition. This course emphasizes eligibility criteria and services available through community programs and includes service-learning activities in the community. Students apply knowledge of diet and health surveys and principles of community assessment and education to the development of a nutrition intervention.

R113 (HPER) Backpacking and Trail Maintenance. This course is designed to introduce you to basic backpacking and wilderness expedition skills including Leave No Trace Principles. The Leave No Trace Principles will be directly applied at the conclusion of the course through involvement in a service-learning project with the Hoosier National Forest.

R367 (HPER) Event Planning and Program Development. Students in this course learn event planning, fundraising, and other program development techniques while working with a community organization or agency to plan an event or to provide some other relevant development service.

Psychology (PSY)

P457 (PSY) Topics in Psychology: Real World Program Evaluation: "Applying Psychology Research to Service Learning, Focus on Battered Women and their Children." This senior-level course allows students to apply the knowledge and skills that they've gained through the psychology curriculum. Students compliment the given reading materials and assignments with experience volunteering weekly at a local women's shelter, and a domestic violence and sexual assault crisis center, Middle Way House and The Rise, as a central focus of the course.

Sociology (SOC)

S101 (SOC) Social Problems and Policies: Race and Everyday Life-Learning and Doing Sociology.This course discusses how race/ethnicity affects our everyday lives as we investigate a specific issue in the Bloomington community. In this introduction to sociology and race/ethnicity students get first-hand experience in doing “sociology.” In addition to class meetings and assigned readings, students learn about sociology and the topic of race/ethnicity by conducting sociological research. Students design a research project around this issue, collect data, and write a report that analyzes the data the class collects.

S431 (SOC) Topics in Social Psychology: Knowledge and Community. This course is designed to consider a broad approach to social science knowledge which includes caring for and knowing one’s community. Students begin by looking at mainstream Western culture's current approach to learning, then alternative approaches from ecological models to "care ethics" are introduced. The class then examines models of learning from non-Western cultures including Hispanic, native American, and African cultures. There is a focus on the role of storytelling as a means of teaching ethical and social beliefs, emphasizing the role of oral practices, and there is consideration for a new model for classroom discourse. In the second half of the semester students begin with a focus on community and knowledge, showing the importance of local knowledge. Students work with an afterschool program or in an elementary school class creating SEAC (Story Exploration and Creation) activities as a way to apply the course concepts.

Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA)

K300 (SPEA) Statistical Techniques. This course covers essential topics related to data collection and presentation, probability, probability distributions, hypothesis testing, correlation, and regression. The service-learning project in this course is intended to help students gain practical experience in applying statistical concepts. Working in teams, students will perform one or more of the following depending on the data availability and community agency’s need: 1) sampling and data collection, 2) data description, and 3) data analysis. Students will visit agencies as needed during the semester, and teams will present project results and implications of the study to the class and the agencies at the end of the semester.

V362 (SPEA) Nonprofit Management and Leadership. This course is designed to provide current and future nonprofit managers and leaders with an overview of a range of nonprofit management practices. Course projects and discussions are designed to expand the management skills of students by offering analytical tools and knowledge, and providing opportunities to test the application of these skills. Students work in teams on an activity relevant to nonprofit management, broadly defined. Most teams choose to work directly with a local nonprofit organization in the role of volunteers, but a library-based research project is also an option.

Business (BUS)

M344 (BUS) Creativity and Communication. This course develops various creativity and communication skills necessary for marketing careers including interpersonal, professional, visual design and computer skills. Sample assignments include producing various marketing materials such as brochures, advertisements, and elaborate communication packages. In this course, service-learners may work on projects with community agencies as their clients in preparing and providing some needed marketing service.

Communications and Culture (CMCL)

C223 (CMCL) Business and Professional Communication. Students work two hours each week in a local agency to learn more about the issues the organization addresses. After conducting research for the agency, students prepare a presentation to give to both their classmates and the patrons or board of the agency. The PowerPoint presentation is a resource given to the community partner organization for their use.

French and Italian (FRIT)

F251 (FRIT) Service Learning French Practicum. Students in this 1-credit companion course to S250 gives beginning students the opportunity to practice conversational French in a relaxed setting with peers. Led by advanced students of French working under faculty guidance, group activities may include discussion, games, magazine/newspaper/movie discussions, cultural events, cooking, etc. Students in the have worked in groups creating French clubs in afterschool programs for children.