Claire McDonnell (Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland)
Two chemistry service learning pilot projects were launched in 2007 in Dublin Institute of Technology, an institution without a well-established culture of applying this pedagogical approach. These projects continue to run but have been modified to ensure their sustainability and service learning has since been applied to several other modules. With the support of the Students Learning With Communities office, established in 2009, three community based research projects that contribute to cross-disciplinary projects have also been implemented. These relate to road safety awareness, soil analysis in a community garden and a development project in Malawi. This service learning case study is informed by analysis of assessment grades, student reflective accounts and evaluation questionnaires as well as the application of Shumer’s Self-Assessment for Service Learning. A marked improvement in student engagement and confidence and in their appreciation of how their subject is applied in real-world situations has been observed.