Service Models

There are several ways to approach service in a course. This page is designed to help you think through options and explore hat kinds of community experiences will most effectively enhance learning in your course. 

Placement Model

Students choose from among several placements that have been pre-selected for their course. They work at these sites multiple times, usually throughout the semester. The service students provide is the conduit to their learning; they gain access to the populations or issues related to their courses. In turn, they provide needed assistance to the organizations and/or their clientele.

  • Typically, the student does not have a large project that they are working on for the community partner, but they tend to have direct contact with clients or issues.
  • Example: students in an honors course identify a social issue that they are interested in and work with community partners each week to address those community needs.
Project Model

Working in groups, the students collaborate with the community partners to devise and implement a project.

  • This model differs from the product model in that there is not a tangible item produced. The students work with the partner on a specific project and the student is not evaluated on the success or failure of the project, but rather their overall work with the community partner.
  • Example: Example: students in the accounting program work with the United Way to host a VITA program site in which the students complete tax returns for low-income individuals within the local community.
Product Model

Students — working alone or in groups — produce a tangible product for the community partners.

  • The product usually takes the student all semester to complete and is evaluated/reviewed multiple times by the community partner and faculty member before final submission.
  • Example: students in a grant writing class work with local community partners to identify and write grants that meet the agency's needs.
Presentation Model

Students in certain courses take material that they are learning in the class and create presentations for audiences in the community. The students work in small groups and choose from among several sites, which have been set up by the faculty member. Sometimes faculty members require students to do their presentations more than once; other have them present in class before going to the community.

  • This is a true presentation format. The students usually are presenting to those that the community partner serves (i.e. children at a school, community members, clients) and the presentation is educational/informational in nature.
  • Example: students in health class put together presentations on germs and washing your hands. Students then go to local elementary schools to present to the children.
Presentation Plus Model

This model is similar to the presentation model except all the students work with the same agency and put on a fair, mini-conference or expo that includes several learning stations or short workshops. The students work in several groups to coordinate all aspects of the event.

  • Typically, this is an all-day commitment from the students for the actual program and is usually held on a Saturday or during a school break (i.e. fall break, etc.)
  • Example: students in the nursing program put on a Teen Health Expo in which teenagers from the local community visit the various stations during the event to learn more about healthy behaviors.
Combined Approach

Any of the above may be combined to make a meaningful and memorable Service experience for your students! 

This material has been adapted from the service-learning resources
at Marquette University and Milwaukee Area Technical College.



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