Integrating Scaffolded Research with Service-Learning into a First-Year Two Semester Course Sequence

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Presentation given at the Council for Undergraduate Research Biennial Conference. This presentation will discuss a first-year seminar format that spans two semesters, incorporates both individual and team-based undergraduate research and service-learning, and keeps the class cohort of students and faculty together for the full academic year. Participants will learn about this course sequence from administrative, faculty, and student perspectives. Two professors who have collaborated in this sequence, along with a former student, will discuss their approach toward connecting undergraduate research and service-learning in the seminar, which is focused on animal-assisted activities in the fall and animals in the lives of children, families, and communities in the spring. In this sequence, students complete a research project in multiple scaffolded steps, first at an individual level by identifying a topic related to the course, finding five relevant research articles, critiquing those articles, and presenting one article to the class. At the end of the fall semester, students create a poster presentation which synthesize all five articles. In the spring semester, students are placed into small groups around common topic themes, expand their literature search to include global perspectives, integrate their individual research findings, and work toward a final product presenting multiple research studies as a cohesive whole to the class. Students also complete 25 hours of service-learning across the sequence. After each service-learning experience, students are required to document their learning and digitally disseminate it by blogging about how their experience connects to the published research on animal-assisted activities. The integration of the research and service-learning experiences will be a central focus of this presentation. Additionally, one program administrator will discuss how this sequence fits into the larger curriculum generally, and the curricular focus on undergraduate research specifically, particularly with respect to building foundational research skills in the first year.


Council for Undergraduate Research Biennial Conference


Tampa, FL

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