Service Learning

What is service learning?

Service learning is a publicly engaged pedagogical approach that is credit-bearing and faculty-led. It integrated a structured service activity and critical reflection into a course's curriculum, connecting the experience to a substantive course topic.

Designed to equally benefit the student and communities involved, service activities address identified community needs and deepen students’ understanding of course material, expand appreciation of the field and help foster civic responsibility.

Faculty can use the resources below to start integrating service learning into their coursework.


Can service learning be done virtually?

Yes! Students can support community partners through remote service-learning projects, such as:

Research: Students can perform background research; research organizational best practices; research ways for volunteers to provide indirect support during the pandemic; and/or research grant opportunities to support the community partner's development.

Assessment: Students can create research tools for program assessment; undertake assessment, evaluation or feedback on the phone or online; and/or reflect on how public health and this global health crisis intersects with the community partner's work.

Content: Students can record or stream performances and workshops; and/or develop print, digital and social media material for the community partner.


Virtual Service Learning Resources
Community Engagement & Social Action

In Remote Community Engagement, Tessa Hicks Peterson offers ideas from her book, Student Development and Social Justice: Critical learning, radical healing, and community engagement, for student assignments, Zoom classroom activities and community-partnered projects that embrace experiential learning in the virtual environment.

Additionally, the Center for Civic Reflection offers discussion/reflection prompts on many topics, including social change, designed to engage communities in important conversations.

Virtual Volunteering Networks

Omprakesh: This website connects students with volunteering opportunities and internships with grassroots social impact organizations worldwide.  Virtual opportunities are available.

VolunteerMatch: This database connects students with volunteer opportunities by location. Virtual opportunities are available.

United Nations Volunteer Program: This program connects organizations and individuals to work on peace and development projects, offering virtual opportunities in a wide variety of fields.

Engage UAlbanyThis UAlbany database, created in partnership with the United Way, helps our campus community find ways to give back both virtually and in person.

All For Good: This is a database of volunteer opportunities all over the country. Search within your area or for virtual opportunities.