Date of Award
Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) in Education
College of Education, Doctoral Program
Howard Rosing and Karl Nass
Service learning (SL) is an experiential learning pedagogy that merges real-life community service activities with structured reflection. Electronic-Service Learning (e-SL) is a blended pedagogy that combines online education and SL. The pandemic has significantly prompted the evolution of SL toward e-SL. In planning pedagogy initiatives, educators must not overlook the changing demographics of their student bodies. Within higher education in the U.S., 75% of students have at least one nontraditional student characteristic. Yet, the perceptions and experiences of nontraditional students on e-SL are critically underexplored. Thus, this dissertation examined the potential and value of developing e-SL with particular attention to nontraditional students’ perspectives. Guided by the theoretical framework of Freire’s educational philosophy on critical pedagogy and problem-posing education, and the conceptual framework of Kolb’s Cycle of Experiential Learning, this dissertation adopted narrative inquiry to capture the detailed stories of three nontraditional students. The key findings revealed: (1) prior volunteer activities and work experiences played a prominent role in shaping participants’ interests, expectations, and behaviors in e-SL; (2) e-SL validated its value as an experiential learning pedagogy, where the phases of Reflective Observation and the Formation of Abstract Conceptualization were critical; (3) e-SL attracted nontraditional students given that it offers a balance between school and other responsibilities, but interpersonal outcomes and the sense of belonging to the institutional community were compromised. By uncovering nontraditional students’ perceptions and experiences in e-SL, this dissertation provided timely insight for educators to advance e-SL practices in the digital age.
Hub, Qianhui, "Service Learning in the Digital Age: Understanding Nontraditional Students and Their Experiential Journey Through Electronic-Service Learning" (2023). College of Education Theses and Dissertations. 264.