June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
Community Engagement Division
23.26.1 - 23.26.15
A Community Partner’s Role During a First-Year Service Learning ProjectThere are three primary roles in a Service Learning project: student, teacher, and communitypartner. It has been established that students enjoy and benefit from Service Learningexperiences. Teachers benefit as well, in their ability to meet educational objectives. For thecommunity partner, the advantage appears to be obvious; their problem is resolved. However,this cannot be assumed. This paper will explore actual gains and losses incurred by onecommunity partner during an experience with a Service Learning project.In the 2011 – 2012 academic year, 45 first-year engineering students were introduced to a needfrom a remote village in Kenya. Though it would have been preferable to work directly with thevillagers, poor internet quality and the extreme distance made this impossible. As a result, peoplefrom the local community, who regularly travelled to the village, identified the need and acted asthe ‘customer’ during the 18-week long project. In groups of 3, the students designed charcoalpresses to convert agricultural waste into charcoal briquettes more efficiently than the currentprocess.The community partners were involved in the design process during the problem introduction, ahands-on demonstration of the process, Q&A sessions, design reviews, and the designexposition. Also, while in the village, the community partners facilitated an exchange ofinformation and performed an experiment designed by the students. The time demand, thoughgreat, gave the students a better understanding of the needs of the villager.This paper will include a qualitative assessment of the community partners’ involvements. Thiswill be achieved through interviews, an examination of activities between the students and thecommunity partner, and excerpts from the data acquired in the remote village. Finally, theaccomplishments and deficiencies that the community partner experienced will be analyzed, andrecommendations will be made to ensure that the expectations are achievable.
Osgood, L., & Johnston, C. R., & Trivett, A. (2013, June), A Community Partner's Role During a First-Year Service Learning Project Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19040
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