What makes a "good" service-learning project?

A “good” project is one that fulfills all of the requirements found in the Getting Started Module. At minimum, you must have 15 hours of direct engagement with a person (or persons) with an intellectual, physical, or emotional-behavioral disability/disorder. Almost any activity that involves sustained, quality interaction with a person with a qualifying disability is acceptable. You can work with children, youth, or adults with disabilities; the choice is yours.

In fulfilling your 15 hours, you can either provide service to persons with disabilities, or you can engage in volunteer or other activities with them. Additionally, you can combine hours spent with different individuals or groups at different locations/activities. The primary goal is for you to have meaningful, on-going interaction that provides ample opportunity for you to integrate your classroom learning about disabilities.

Can I work with a Group?

Yes! Although we encourage teamwork, individual projects and group projects are equally acceptable. Teams should be no larger than three (3) students unless approved by your instructor. Whether you work solo, with a partner, or in a small group, the requirements are the same. At the end of your project, however, each student must individually submit a narrated PowerPoint presentation, even if the presentation is a group effort.

How much time does the service-learning project require?

You are expected to engage in 15 hours of service unless otherwise instructed by your instructor. A lesser time commitment is insufficient because it does not provide a meaningful and sustained learning experience working with persons with disabilities. Some projects may require additional hours of preparation and planning. You should report on how you spent your service hours in your narrated PowerPoint presentation.

I’m nervous, as I don’t have much experience working with persons with disabilities. What if I do or say something embarrassing?

Relax. Many other students are experiencing the same feelings. Working with a special population for the first time commonly causes some anxiety. A good attitude and a willingness to learn can go a long way in helping you to manage new situations. Draw from your prior coursework and from the Teachers in Action modules. Persons with disabilities (and the staff that work with them) tend to be very accepting and forgiving. The important thing is that you use what you’ve learned, pay attention to your mistakes, and improve over time.

The service-learning project requires me to work with a person or persons with a disability. What qualifies as a “disability”?

Please review “Categories of Disability Under IDEA” provided by the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities at the following url. Whether you choose to work with children, youth or adults with disabilities, these same guidelines apply.

How do I "narrate" a PowerPoint presentation? What are the other requirements of the presentation?

To record narration, you will need to use a computer that is equipped with a sound card and a microphone (either built-in or external). If you lack a microphone, you will need to borrow or purchase one. Basic desktop microphones cost as low as $10. A PowerPoint template is provided in the Submitting Your Work module, as well as specific instructions for how to create your presentation. Follow instructions carefully.