Publication Date

2005

Abstract

Educational institutions utilize service-learning programs as a means of integrating a course’s curriculum with a service experience that will result in increased knowledge and skill development for the students. The service-learning courses frequently have students work on a volunteer basis with locally based community organizations. Earthwatch Institute is a non-profit organization that utilizes volunteers who assist scientists with data collection on field research projects. Volunteers on these research projects gain hands-on experience conducting field research. This research seeks to answer the following research question: What is a model for a service-learning project that will encourage educators to extend their academic curriculum beyond the classroom by leading their students on Earthwatch field research expeditions? I collected data via three research methods: interviews, program review, and a review of personal notes from my own experience with a student team on an Earthwatch expedition. Through this research I have determined that it is possible for educational institutions to utilize field research expeditions as a service-learning experience for their students. Based on the data, I have developed a program model which will serve as a guideline to educators for designing a course that incorporates an Earthwatch field research component.

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