Building a Foundation for a Philanthropic Future: Community-Engagement in an Online College Class

Building a Foundation for a Philanthropic Future: Community-Engagement in an Online College Class

Mary Todd Chesnut (Northern Kentucky University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0871-7.ch011
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This chapter will outline an instructor's attempts to incorporate service-learning into an online college course in the fall of 2014, utilizing a well-respected institutional philanthropic program. The chapter will describe the pedagogical challenges faced by the instructor as she attempted to integrate the service-learning components into an already established curriculum and will share the tools and strategies that she employed with her students. The chapter will address the benefits and challenges as identified by the instructor and the students in the class and will also share several unanticipated rewards that occurred as a result of the philanthropic partnership. The chapter will also offer some practical application ideas for others wishing to incorporate service-learning component into their online classes.
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The idea of service-learning in college classes is certainly not a new phenomenon. In the past few decades, many have studied and extolled the benefits of incorporating service-learning aspects into college coursework. Some of the benefits that have been identified include long-term volunteerism, strengthened leadership skills, and life satisfaction in adulthood (Bowman, Brandenberger, Lapsley, Hill, & Quaranto, 2010 ; Newman & Hernandez, 2011); increased student learning and success (Moore & Mendez, 2014); empathy, enhanced critical thinking skills, and contributions to societal change and social justice initiatives (Bureau, Cole, & McCormick, 2014); “brain-based learning” (Nwokah & Leafblad, 2013); future civic engagement (O’Leary, 2014); and increased participation in the democratic process in adulthood (Flanagan & Bundick, 2011). Certainly the number of classes that incorporate service-learning has grown rapidly in recent years. Mirabella noted that “between 1996 and 2006, philanthropy courses grew in number by 206% and represent 13% of all nonprofit management education coursework” (as cited in Campbell, 2014, p. 221). Undoubtedly as research continues to surface evidencing the pedagogical and long-term benefits of community-engagement, these numbers will continue to grow.

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