Rushing to online teaching may feel loaded with learning new tools for remote teaching and learning and adjusting expectations and familiar practices like giving exams and conducting attendance. Amid the rapid change, recall your commitment to community-based instruction to invigorate your teaching for the rest of the semester. While this post refers to tools of community-engaged pedagogy, instructors not teaching with community may find inspiration.
(Re)imagine community – How do we define community at this time?
Dr. Talia Weltman-Cisneros, Southern Methodist University, created space for service-learning and community engaged faculty and professionals to share best practices and/or brainstorm about how to adapt to remote teaching. (link to Webinar recording to follow) In the Webinar Dr. Weltman-Cisneros posed the question of how we define community, now, when we may be distant from our community partners and the community of our classrooms.
The question implicates student learning, outcomes for community, immediate and long-term, and the trust-based relationships we as instructors have with our community partners and the issues they and we value enough to bring into our classrooms. These are my thoughts around the question. What are yours?
For the classroom community: Involve students in discussions about revising your course and continuing community service to achieve your learning outcomes. They are vested and may rise to this show of respect for their role in the class as committed learners. Invite them to exercise the skills you may intend to teach them through community engaged pedagogy: leadership, critical engagement and reflection, professional practice.
For community partnerships: Continue communicating your commitment to engagement with current partners, even if that can only be through remaining present and available while they adapt to this new situation. If continued curricular engagement is possible, work together to pivot your class to meet urgent needs. How can you stay in contact for continued partnership in future semesters?
For the broader “community”: How do we maintain focus on the key student learning outcomes of community engaged learning, service-learning, community engagement?
- Opportunities for growth in socially-responsible knowledge and values
- Community engagement activities and partnerships that serve as a way to gain further understanding of course content
- Confront real life problems/needs, apply critical and analytical thinking to better understand and resolve these problems and support these needs
To help you answer all these questions, the CITL Service-Learning Program created a resource page with general guidelines and questions to ask about revising your course and ideas for continuing the community partnerships that hopefully benefit your partner and help meet your course and civic learning outcomes.
We will update this page with additional ideas and resources as we learn of them.
The Service-Learning Program is available for virtual consultations should you want to talk through any of these ideas for pivoting your community-based class online. Please reach out to Michael Valliant (firstname.lastname@example.org) set up a phone call or Zoom meeting to best assist you.