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Reflective Essays

Vol. 26 No. 1

Transforming Barriers into Opportunities: Teaching Environment and Sustainability Service-Learning Courses During the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic

February 5, 2021


In response to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many institutions of higher learning locked down their campuses and altered their ways of teaching. This article discusses changes made to courses at five highly varied public universities in New England that were among those participating in the multi-year Campuses for Environmental Stewardship (CES) program. The primary aim of the CES program is to integrate environmental service-learning (SL) into college curricula through workshops, faculty fellowships, and mentoring. We detail how teaching strategies were altered in the fall of 2020 to accommodate the threat of COVID-19 in the classroom. The authors transitioned significant portions of their instruction to online formats or outdoor classrooms. Specifics about the impacts of the shift to virtual teaching-learning is discussed, with particular focus on the impacts to the service learning components of each of the courses.