An Information Systems Service Learning Experience

L10 5

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  • Title: An Information Systems Service Learning Experience
  • Author(s): Sharlett Gillard
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: The Learner
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Learning: Annual Review
  • Keywords: Information Systems Service Learning
  • Volume: 17
  • Issue: 5
  • Year: 2010
  • ISSN: 1447-9494 (Print)
  • ISSN: 1447-9540 (Online)
  • DOI:
  • Citation: Gillard, Sharlett. 2010. "An Information Systems Service Learning Experience." The International Journal of Learning: Annual Review 17 (5): 125-132. doi:10.18848/1447-9494/CGP/v17i05/47056.
  • Extent: 8 pages


A student often views his academic career as multiple time-blocks with specific starting and ending dates. During each block of time, the student concentrates on discrete subjects and views them as unrelated to any which preceded or which will follow. Few courses enunciate the contiguity and entwinement of courses better than one focused on service learning projects. Organizations for which the project is designed, within and/or outside the university community, benefit by the product created by the students. The students, in turn, gain valuable experience working with “real world” needs for bona fide organizations that will implement the product(s) developed. The students acquire experience, knowledge, confidence in their ability to function in a business environment, and a sense of accomplishment and pride in a job successfully completed. This paper focuses on strategies developed, instructional issues, lessons learned, and byproduct bonuses realized from having facilitated a service learning course. It is a descriptive exhortation of an undergraduate Information Systems (IS) course at a medium-sized university located in Midwest USA. The course is not a capstone course, and the only absolute common background for all participating students is coursework or equivalent experience in Excel and Access.