E-Service Learning: The Evolution of Service-Learning to Engage a Growing Online Student Population

Leora S. Waldner, Murray C. Widener, Sue Y. McGorry


E-service-learning (electronic service-learning)—a service-learning course wherein the instruction and/or the service occurs online—holds massive potential to transform both service-learning and online learning by freeing service-learning from geographical constraints and by equipping online learning with a powerful and much-needed tool to promote engagement. Students are increasingly pursuing their education online, yet few are exposed to service-learning in their online coursework. To remain relevant, service-learning must also go online. How do we transition service-learning from high-touch to high-tech? E-service-learning provides the answer. Through an extensive literature review, this article identifies four emerging types of e-service-learning endeavors and presents best practices. Armed with these best practices, we call on our colleagues to increasingly integrate e-service-learning into their online courses and to study the outcomes of such efforts to ensure the relevance of service-learning in the 21st century.

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