Questions to Consider When Developing a Community-Engaged Course

Course structure

  • How will this service-learning course fit into my research and scholarship objectives?
  • How much experience do I have with service-learning and community partnerships? Do I need help getting started?
  • What types of experiences are the best fit for my type of class? What types of organizations might benefit from a partnership with my course?
  • What kinds of preparation will my students need in order to participate in the service-learning course? How will I participate in that facilitation?


  • What are the learning objectives for this course?
  • How do the outcomes from the service-learning experience relate to the course objectives?
  • What types of activities will connect the service-learning experience to the course content?
  • How will the service experience be documented and assessed?

Community partners

  • Do I need assistance in the identification of community partners?
  • What role will the community partner play in the development and implementation of the course?
  • How will I engage the community partner in evaluating the student and the course?
  • How will the community partner benefit from the service-learning project?
  • What community need is being addressed, and who has identified it as a priority?
  • What will be the relationship between community partners, the university, the department, faculty and students once the course has been completed? Do options for ongoing collaborations exist?


  • What will be the specific role of the student?
  • How will the service-learning experience make the course more valuable and meaningful to the student?
  • How will the service-learning experience affect students’ future civic engagement and professional goals?

Adapted from the Purdue University Service-Learning Faculty Course Design Handbook