Information for First Year Students

What is Community-Based Learning?

"Community-Based Learning (CBL) combines civic engagement with academic instruction, critical thinking, and reflection in a reciprocal relationship that benefits students, community partners, and faculty (definition adapted from the Faculty Service-Learning Handbook, College of Southern Maryland)".

Benefits of CBL Courses

  • Hands-on, experiential learning opportunity

  • Weekly engagement with a community agency

  • Reflection on CBL experience through course discussions and assignments, which serves to enhance the understanding of course content

  • Understanding and appreciation for people and experiences that are different from their own

Quick Facts about CBL

  • CBL office secures all placement sites and uses a preference sheet to assess student interest

  • CBL students are assigned a Community Mentor to help guide the overall CBL experience

  • CBL students consistently attend each week

  • Transportation, in most cases, is provided

FYP/FYS with CBL Components

***FYS courses with this designation include an experiential learning component known as Community-Based Learning (CBL). The CBL component will require students to participate in a community placement, outside of class time, on a weekly basis throughout the semester. However, due to the ongoing and unpredictable nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, students should plan for the possibility of virtual engagement. Virtual engagement will vary in form and duration depending on the community partner site. In some cases, students might be able to connect with people, and in other cases, students are tasked with creating content and other behind-the-scenes-projects. While virtual engagement goes against the grain of an in-person, hands-on experience, students are encouraged to think about the experiential aspect of the community placement, how that placement serves as part of the course materials, and how it will be incorporated into the class during the semester as the experience unfolds. Click on the link to learn more about Community-Based Learning.

For course descriptions, please visit the FYP page.