CCELL Hosts Inaugural S-L Online Faculty Workshop
Faculty from LSU’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Department (CE) and the School of Education (SOE) took part in CCELL’s Inaugural Service-Learning Online Faculty Scholars Program this spring semester. For five weeks, Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner (EDCI), Dr. Mostafa Elseifi (CE), and Dr. Sarah Becker (CCELL Director) collaborated remotely to build online courses that use service-learning pedagogy. By engaging with current scholarship on the topic in a broad range of academic fields and having critical conversations about implementation, the group was able to generate three new online offerings that will carry the LSU’s official Service-Learning designation.
Dr. Elseifi’s CE 4660: Infrastructure Condition Assessment course will partner with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). Students in the class will gain practical experience in collecting and analyzing pavement condition data and assessing the impact of social, environmental, and economic factors. Their final reports will help the FHWA have a more holistic understanding of pavement conditions and ideas for future safety planning. The class will be piloted as S-L official in Spring 2021 in Dr. Elseifi’s on-campus class and then transitioned to online in future semesters.
Elseifi, a service-learning newcomer, found the workshop enjoyable and its service-learning focus essential to the engineering curriculum.
“[Service-learning] will offer great benefits to the students by allowing them to apply the taught concepts in a real-world environment while learning about their community and emerging aspects of their profession including sustainable development, social and economic factors, and how they [all] affect civil engineering design,” he emphasized.
Dr. Baumgartner’s EDCI 7056: Theories of Child Development online course will partner with Baton Rouge’s Knock Knock Children’s
Museum. Students in the class will work closely with educators at Knock Knock on individualized projects utilizing their class knowledge base to develop initiatives the museum can use to support its educational work. The revamped service-learning class will be taught online in Fall 2020.
Although she’s familiar with implementing service-learning practices in her courses, Baumgartner is still looking forward to applying what she learned in her upcoming course.
“I believe that through this project, students will deepen their learning about child development theories and expand their communication skills as they support the important work of Knock Knock Children’s Museum in our community.”
Dr. Becker’s Sociology (SOCL) 4465: Drugs and Society Class will be offered online for the first time this summer. Thanks to this workshop, it will include a service option. Students will be given the chance to collaborate with a local non-profit from home or in person (under current physical distancing protocol). In addition, her African and African American Studies and Sociology (AAAS/SOCL) course: 2511 Race Relations will have an e-service component. Students in the class will choose a children’s book to create a read-aloud for the Zeiter Literacy Center. In addition, they will read the book to a child in their life (in person or remotely) and donate the book to a child of their choice or to a child who resides in Baton Rouge and is connected to area non-profits seeking to keep kids reading in the summer.
With the increasing importance of socially-distant learning and engagement methods, CCELL and LSU are proud to see our faculty on the cutting edge of course development. Their work will stand out as a great model for other faculty developing online courses that offer unique and rich experiences for LSU students while also contributing to the community.