2009 Teaching and Learning Symposium

2:30-4:30 p.m., April 21, 2009
HUB Ballroom

Session Description



International Human Rights & Service: Incorporating Service Learning and Inquiry Based Teaching into a Study Abroad Experience

Sharon McCarty (UWEO/English Language Programs) & Phelps Feeley (UWEO Academic Programs)

This poster addresses two of this year’s themes: extending learning beyond the classroom and inquiry based teaching.

International Human Rights and Service (TSAN300A/B) was the Fall 2008 piece of the Jackson School’s yearlong "Global Studies, Local Service" study abroad program offered to 31 international students, primarily from Waseda University in Tokyo. The course incorporated service learning with content and academic skills building; students received academic credit for 20 hours of volunteering at local nonprofits. The Carlson Center supported the service learning for the students.

Our hope was that experiential learning linked to a class theme would enhance and facilitate the extent to which students would make connections between course materials (selected readings, film, primary documents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN’s Millennium Development Goals) and students’ service learning. Would they see the parallel between our course mantra “Think Global, Act Local” and their work at organizations such as Treehouse and People for Puget Sound? Would this course be transformative due to the service learning component?

We also hoped that inquiry based group assignments and activities would promote a climate of collaboration and context for investigating the course theme. For example, requiring students to write a modified grant proposal for a local nonprofit would allow students to negotiate meaning together as well as apply new knowledge with a goal related focus. Another example was the use of a GoPost discussion board. Every week two students created a question related to the class theme and posted it to the web board to elicit comments from fellow students.

Through reflection journals, discussion board, individual conferences and feedback from service learning supervisors, we assessed the effects of these activities and examined the degree to which each of the components achieved the goal of linking class content to their experience.


Index of Symposium Presenters