Reciprocal Empowerment Through Remote Service Learning: How to Create Learning Opportunities That Embrace Difference and Foster Social Justice

Birgit Phillips (University of Applied Sciences Burgenland, Austria)
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 85
EISBN13: 9781799891055|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7856-8.ch004
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This chapter presents a novel pedagogical approach of “remote service learning” (RSL), which was applied in an undergraduate health degree program at an Austrian university. Remote service learning is a form of active blended learning that combines academic learning with practical experience and social commitment, using a range of tools and methods from online didactics. Drawing on emancipatory pedagogies such as transformative learning, an RSL-focused course pursues the ambitious goal of promoting reciprocal empowerment, that is, the promotion of mutual educational processes. “Reciprocal” refers to all stakeholders involved in the course, directly or indirectly: university students, the local community, the Austrian NGO, and the educator. Survey and qualitative data results have shown that the fundamental triad of learning, acting, and reflecting in remote service learning not only leads to a deeper understanding of the course content and discipline but also increased self-awareness, empathy, and a heightened sense of the highly complex social realities in different parts of the world.
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