Service-Learning in Online Courses

The 2012 Survey of Online Learning conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group has been released. Key report findings include:

  • Over 6.7 million students were taking at least one online course during the fall 2011 term, an increase of 570,000 students over the previous year.
  • Thirty-two percent of higher education students now take at least one course online.
  • Seventy-seven percent of academic leaders rate the learning outcomes in online education as the same or superior to those in face-to-face classes.
  • The proportion of chief academic officers who believe their faculty accept the value and legitimacy of online education has not increased – it now stands at only 30.2 percent.
  • The proportion of chief academic leaders who say online learning is critical to their long-term strategy is at a new high of 69.1 percent.

The tenth annual survey, a collaborative effort between the Babson Survey Research Group and the College Board, is the leading barometer of online learning in the United States.   Based on responses from over 2,800 academic leaders, the complete survey report, “Changing Course:  Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States” is available here. An infographic of the report’s findings can be seen here.

As online teaching and learning has grown, there have not been parallel innovative developments in the field of civically engaged teaching and learning. We have some catching up to do. We need to develop innovative ways to merge these two pedagogical dynamos. Few online learners are benefiting from civic and community engagement opportunities connected to the curriculum. As online course delivery increases as a percentage of all higher education courses there will be fewer and fewer service-learners each year – unless we act now!

Before attempting to jump into a hybrid of these two pedagogies you might want to look at some current wisdom regarding the component parts. If you are a skilled and experienced online educator and want to explore service-learning, you may want to look at the wealth of information available at the National Service-Learning Clearinghouse. If you have embraced service-learning, but are a novice at teaching online you might some of the many, many, many sites out there dedicated to online course design.

Online Teaching and Learning has posted an audio interview with Rena Palloff & Keith Pratt, authors of a number of books on online education, including the forthcoming book, “The Excellent Online Instructor.”

If you have something to contribute to this site please leave a comment at the bottom of this page.

CDCE Resources

Articles (in no particular order)

Other Resources


This session at a conference at Missouri State University features Jean Strait presenting “Uniting Online Education with Service-Learning.”

A video from Portland Community College

Service learning at a distance — Tom Cunningham at the 2009 Teaching with Technology Idea Exchange

Video streaming by Ustream


Service-eLearning: Educating for Citizenship, Amber Dailey-Hebert, Emily Donnelli-Sallee, and Laurie N DiPadova-Stocks, Editors

Online Learning Resources


Good Articles


What do you want to know about service-learning in online courses? Click the button above and tell us.

2 thoughts on “Service-Learning in Online Courses

  1. Hey John:

    The resources offered here are great! I know how hard it is to find research on e-service-learning and using mobile devices–

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