Service Learning
A teaching tool connecting community and classroom

Introduction to Learning through Community Engagment

Introduction - Learning through Community Engagement

Since 2003, service learning has been used as a pedagogical tool in the College of Engineering & Informatics at NUI Galway. Over the last three years, the College has built on this and embedded service learning into all Level 8 Engineering degree programmes, as well as some postgraduate programmes, to allow students to complete engineering projects in the community and enabling them to learn by doing.

Service learning fits well with the descriptors for the 6 Programme Areas outlined in the Accreditation Criteria for Engineering Education programmes, including 'responding to real life situations' and 'developing awareness of the social and commercial context of engineer's work'. Each year over 200 students undertake community-based projects each year.

These modules have all been individually tailored for the group of students, taking account of their previous learning experiences, size of group, programme, diversity of the group and so on. The modules have been carefully designed to ensure there was no loss in the technical learning outcomes, while students gain significantly in terms of understanding the role of the engineer in society, the need for a tight and inclusive design cycle to address user requirements and the importance of cost in terms of adoption of the solution in the target consumer group (see for example learning outcomes in ‘Notes for Students' for civil engineering module).

These opportunities give students: