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Voluntary Commitment and Service Learning

Center for Key Qualifications (ZfS) launches online student survey

Freiburg, Apr 11, 2017

Voluntary Commitment and Service Learning

Photo: Rawpixel/Fotolia

The Center for Key Qualifications (ZfS) of the University of Freiburg is inviting students to take part in an online survey starting on 11 April 2017. The information is being gathered to guide the development of a new, "service learning" course offering at the ZfS. The "service learning" format links voluntary service with university studies. The survey gives students an opportunity to provide information on their volunteer activities and to say whether they are interested in taking part in multidisciplinary service learning courses.

Uniting the commitment of volunteering with university studies: The Center for Key Qualifications aims to support this with a new, interdisciplinary course offering. Photo: Rawpixel/Fotolia

Many students already work as volunteers. They may have organized the position themselves, be working through an association, or joining in student initiatives. "Committed volunteers are indispensible, especially in working with youth or refugees," says Waltraud Ziegler of the ZfS. She says that volunteers nevertheless often have little opportunity to reflect on their experiences, share them with others, or further develop the qualifications they have gained as volunteers. Ziegler emphasizes that input from the social sciences, philosophy or ethics could, for example, be helpful in an intercultural context. She says students may ask themselves, "On which theoretical basis can I understand the experiences I've had with people from different cultures and how can I develop myself further?"

New teaching format

The ZfS would like to develop a new teaching format to fill this gap. "Service learning" describes the interplay between charity work and university studies. Specifically, it means that student volunteers are making a contribution to society by working free-of-charge politically or to promote social welfare. In accompanying seminars and workshops, theoretical knowledge will be presented, deepened and considered, all with respect to the specific type of volunteer work.
The range of topics is very broad and includes, for example, interacting with foreigners, intercultural and transcultural relationships, as well as role understanding, organizing teams, project management and press and public relations work.

Just five minutes

After the results of the online survey have been assessed, the ZfS team will design a course offering for the winter semester of 2017/18. Filling out the survey questionnaire takes about five minutes. It will be available online from 11 April to 5 May 2017.

Julia Dannehl

Take part in the survey

Center for Key Qualifications

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