Any class that connects students to the Greater Richmond community for experiential learning is considered a community-based learning (CBL) class. Modes of CBL include:
- Bringing community partners into the classroom
- Participant observation and shadowing
- Producing documentaries and performances
- Study trips
- Service trips
- Service learning (mentoring, tutoring, interpreting, etc.)
- Teaching course material in schools, prisons, etc.
- Data analysis and background research for community partners
- Organizational studies and consulting
- Clinical education
CBL is much more than substituting an "experience assignment" for a more traditional assignment. CBL courses fully integrate classroom and community elements. Faculty design projects to respond to community-identified needs, and the community partners often become co-educators. Students in CBL classes also act as co-educators rather than passive recipients, engaging in the community, reflecting on experiences, and adding their insights to the educational content of the course.
Faculty find community partners in many ways. We invite community organizations to consider how they might connect with our community-based learning program. Contact Terry Dolson for more information. Also consider joining the ConnectVA listserv where we post requests for proposals.
Watch a short digital story on community-based learning at U of R.