Service-Learning as a Pedagogical Approach for Net Generation Learners: A Case Study

Service-Learning as a Pedagogical Approach for Net Generation Learners: A Case Study

Sally Blomstrom (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-347-8.ch020
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Background

The assignment was created for a speech course at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) on the Prescott, AZ campus, located in the southwestern United States. The course was required of students majoring in engineering, aviation, space physics, and global security and intelligence studies. Speech was usually taken during the first year of study. The course had a defined structure, because the university has two residential campuses and a large worldwide campus and the course was offered through all three campuses. All instructors used a common syllabus, which stated the student learning objectives, and all students developed and delivered informative speeches, persuasive speeches, and team presentations. Instructors created specific assignments in their sections to meet the course objectives. The assignment for this chapter was designed to meet the objectives for the team presentation.

Many students taking the class were Net Generation learners, and the literature suggests those learners do not respond well in traditional classrooms (Howe & Strauss, 2000). In an effort to better address the students service-learning was selected as the pedagogical approach. Through service-learning students realize many benefits including helping them understand course material better, enjoying learning, liking service, receiving a professional development benefit, and gaining skills, experience, and confidence in their abilities and skills (Isaacson & Saperstein, 2005.) Communication is a practical discipline that can contribute to society through service (Applegate & Morreale, 1999), and the method has increased in popularity in the field of communication (Oster-Aaland, Sellnow, Nelson, & Pearson, 2004). Service-learning has also increased in popularity in engineering studies (Campus Compact, 2008). The engineering industry has a desire for well-rounded individuals equipped to work in a global context (Oakes, 2004). Engineering students who engage in service-learning develop an understanding of the social context and issues related to the problems they are solving, critical thinking skills, ethical standards, communication skills, an understanding of teamwork, and curiosity (Lima & Oakes, 2006).

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