June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
11.434.1 - 11.434.6
Developing a Win-Win Environment with Service-Learning
One of the critical challenges facing higher education today is how to fill the gap between industry’s requirements, expectations, and the preparation of undergraduate students beyond the classroom. Faculty and students alike often come to the same conclusion: even a course that is organized, challenging, and contains well-developed labs, can only take an individual so far. Simply, there is no replacing the value that industry experience provides to students before they enter the workforce.
Broadening the spectrum, there are many challenges facing our global economy. The most popular being economics. Financial survival is a constant concern throughout all levels of industry and each organization utilizes different approaches and strategies to handle these challenges. This may include outsourcing the labor and manufacturing of a product to an alternate, less-expensive location or perhaps instituting an innovative low-cost technology to help reduce overhead costs. Organizations across the world continue to search for ways to reduce their expenses in order to become or remain financially stable.
Combining the challenge for higher-education to give students industry experience while providing a method for organizations to maximize their services with little or no fiscal expenditures, results in a process called service-learning . This term refers to educational activity in partnership with a public or non-profit agency, organization, or project within the community. Service-learning from an academic viewpoint is normally completed in one of two ways. The first, curricular service-learning, is a process in which the project is integrated into an academic course and carries academic credit. The second, co-curricular service-learning, complements academic work but is not directly connected to a course or academic program and does not carry academic credit. Both of these methods, when implemented effectively, have the ability to produce a variety of benefits for both the students and organization involved.
The Computer Network Systems Administration (CNSA) program  at Michigan Technological University (MTU) has developed an effective service-learning program between its undergraduate students and the community that surrounds the university. The CSNA program was established in 2003 and prepares students for careers in network engineering, security engineering, and systems administration. Although each of the program’s core courses have been designed to incorporate a “hands-on” lab section that is offered in conjunction with the courses’ lectures, the students often have a difficult time applying the material learned throughout the course directly to industry. To help alleviate this issue, MTU’s CNSA program created its first service-learning partnership with the Regional Educational Media Center (REMC)  of Michigan and the Copper Country Intermediate School District (CCISD) .
REMC is directly responsible for providing and maintaining the technological education services of the CCISD. REMC provides each CCISD building with access to voice, video, and data equipment (including phones, computers, data projectors, TV, VCR, and video conference
Hembroff, G., & Cai, Y., & Amos, S. (2006, June), Developing A Win Win Environment With Service Learning Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. https://peer.asee.org/934
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