Community-Based Learning Courses
Are you one of those students who does not have any extra time outside of class to explore your civic interests? Maybe a community-based learning class is the answer for you.
Community-based learning classes allow you to deepen your understanding of course content while connecting with the local community. Perhaps you’d like to find a class that brings in local experts who share their expertise and extend your understanding of a particular local issue. Maybe you’re interested in a class that entails completing a project requested by a community partner, or perhaps you are most interested in a class that utilizes research to address a local need. Each semester, staff from the Center for Careers, Life, and Service; the academic dean’s office; and faculty collaborate on community-based classes, and the CLS is happy to help you identify the courses that are right for you.
Examples of Community-Based Learning Courses
Latin@s in the U.S.: Issues for Social Change (SPN320)
Spanish Professor Carmen Valentin’s class partnered with an organization that mentors young Latina youth in Tama.
This partnership resulted in cocurricular service leadership work-study and volunteer positions within the organization that allowed students to develop and implement a curriculum teaching Spanish-speaking immigrant parents about the American higher education system.
The curriculum was shared with parents in 9 different communities throughout Iowa, and involved over 30 Spanish-speaking Grinnell College students.
Team Software Development for Community Organizations (CSC 322)
Computer Science Professor Samuel A. Rebelsky’s class allows students to develop software packages over the course of multiple semesters.
Students in this course have created software packages that help a local nonprofit track its food pantry inventory and communicate real-time needs to the community. In addition, students have also created software that helps Head Start teachers communicate important information to parents via smartphones. Both of these software packages are scalable, and the nonprofit hopes to expand their development and use to counties all over central Iowa.
“We think our students should understand the ways in which their computing skills can make a positive difference in the world,” says Rebelsky. “At the same time, it’s important for students to learn how to work with clients who know what they want done, but not how it can be done.”
Learn more at Coding for a Cause.
Grinnell Caucus Project (SST 295)
The Grinnell Caucus Project was designed by Political Science Professor Barb Trish. The tagline for the course was, “10 students, 10 days, 1 bus, a front seat to the election.”
Students spent the week engaged in an intensive examination of the Iowa caucuses and the campaigns leading up to them. Class activities included attending candidate events; visiting campaign headquarters, party headquarters, media outlets, paid vendors, consultants, and state ethics and campaign finance boards; and talking with reporters, campaign and party staff, activists, and consultants.
Learn more at the Grinnell Caucus Project.
Additional information about community-based \learning courses is available on GrinnellShare (secure login required).