Service Learning Project (SLP) Implementation and Assessment in the Construction Management Programs—A Case Study Svetlana Olbina
Service learning (SL) is one of the ten high-impact practices recommended by the Association of American Colleges and Universities that increases student retention and engagement rates. Service-learning projects (SLP) use an active learning, student-centered approach in which students interact with the community to create solutions for community problems. While SL has been successfully applied in various academic disciplines, its adoption in Construction Management (CM) education has been very limited, despite the abundance of opportunities for its application within the CM discipline. The purpose of this study was to introduce a case study of an SL-based CM Cares program at Colorado State University that has been implemented every spring semester since 2011. The study also developed an assessment method (a survey questionnaire) that investigated student perceptions about the SL practices, challenges, and benefits to student learning, professional development, and personal development and growth. The survey was sent to all the course participants (84) enrolled in the CM Cares course from 2011 to 2017. Statistical analysis of the survey responses showed positive results across the spectrum of students’ service learning and professional and personal development. The assessment method developed by this study can potentially be used by other CM programs that have been implementing SLPs.
Challenges in Developing Teaching Effectiveness and Scholarship Through Service Learning Projects
Community engagement pedagogies (also referred to as service learning) have been continuously promoted by US colleges and universities to enhance student learning experiences while meeting the needs of communities. However, during the implementation of service-learning projects, the faculty or instructors teaching such courses face great challenges for achieving the project goals within the limited course timeframe as well as keeping students and communities deeply involved throughout the process. Furthermore, the faculty members, especially those who are still at the early stage of their academic careers, have difficulties in balancing their time commitment for leading service-learning projects and meeting other research and scholarship expectations. This paper investigated the problems encountered by junior faculty in teaching courses with embedded service-learning components through case studies from a green building and sustainable construction course. A focus group study was followed to obtain consensuses on this issue from a group of faculty members who were interested in service-learning activities but had similar concerns. Problems such as student motivation and skill sets, the creation of a service-learning model, sustainability of university-community partnerships, and scholarship and publication venues were identified.
Fostering Transformative Experiences for Construction Students: Gamifying a Surveying Course
A transformative experience happens when a student is able to use knowledge learned in the classroom and connect it to an observation or experience outside of the classroom. This connection of classroom subject matter to an everyday experience enables the student to more fully understand the concept and results in increased learning. Gamification is the process of adding game elements to a nongame scenario. Gamification is used by business, marketers, and educators to increase the engagement and involvement of consumers, employees, and students. This paper presents a case study of the use of gamification in a Construction Surveying course. The authors use this case study to discuss the importance of transformative experiences and how gamification can be used as one tool to foster them.