Community Engaged Learning brings social action into the curriculum. Students work together on real world briefs to solve challenges faced by local social impact partners. This is the opportunity to bring their theoretical learning to life, shifting from knowledge receivers to idea generators whilst making change.
Why we do it
Community Engaged Learning has a double benefit for both student participants, and the community partners we work with. Students develop critical awareness, benefit from improved wellbeing, build key skills for life and demonstrate improved student experience whilst the local community benefits from new perspectives, added capacity and community cohesion.
Student Hubs’ expertise in working with both students, and the communities, means we can add capacity to universities and academics through Community Engaged Learning. We work closely with academics, partners and students creating bespoke experiences for each group.
Students receive training and support throughout their module including topics such as project management, problem solving, and critical thinking
Community partners are supported to work effectively with students by developing useful briefs and implementing recommendations
Academics have dedicated support to build community-based learning into their course in a way that is consistent with the institution’s goals
Working with real clients makes the whole project more interesting and serious. Knowing that you can use this on your CV is another motivating aspect. Getting this type of responsibility as university students really gives us the chance to show how professional and dedicated we can be.Community Engaged Learning Student
How it works
Community Engaged Learning projects are wide ranging. We are able to co-design a suitable format and find projects, briefs and community partners appropriate for most courses. Projects are typically research, consultancy or practical in nature, with briefs often targeted at specific functions e.g. marketing and communications, data analysis or design.
The steps we follow as part of our Community Engaged Learning programme include:
- We work with academics to identify learning outcomes, assessments and target skills for students
- Together with the academic, we co-create a Community Engaged Learning format that meets identified outcomes. For example research skills, or consultancy experience
- We reach out to their Hub community partners, sourcing the local organisations who will support the module
- We work with the community partner to design appropriate briefs and projects following the academics’ guidance
- We plan extra support and training students will need for the project. This includes training, seminar sessions, workshops and additional drop-in sessions
- We co-deliver the programme following with evaluation and reflection on student and community outcomes
The initiatives have been really great for the students. They have introduced real-world learning into their programme and have enabled us to deliver a more diverse and authentic learning experience. They have also given us the opportunity to bring new faces … into the classroom thus giving the students a better experience and a better awareness of their employability skills. They have also benefited from the fact that their efforts are contributing to wider communities. Students said … that contributing to the community made their activities meaningful.Community Engaged Learning Academic