Guidance for Students
We are happy to talk with students one-on-one. Please feel free to contact us at any time with questions or to arrange a time to talk:
SLS Program and Operations Manager
I am part of the Sustainable Communities track for the Summer iGniTe program. How can I get more information about Serve-Learn-Sustain?
Information about Serve-Learn-Sustain programs and initiatives is located on our website at www.serve-learn-sustain.gatech.edu. You may also reach out to us with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have questions about one of my SLS Affiliated Courses. Who should I talk to?
Please talk to your instructor.
I am interested in taking some SLS Affiliated Courses. Where can I find that information for Summer and Fall 2020?
You can search for SLS Affiliated Courses on our website here: https://serve-learn-sustain.gatech.edu/affiliated-courses
I would like to meet with an SLS advisor. How do I do that?
Please email SLS at email@example.com and an advisor will make arrangements to meet with you via video teleconference.
I want to help out in my community. What can I do to help?
As challenging as all of this is for Georgia Tech, many communities are facing even more serious challenges, as COVID-19 is exacerbating existing inequities and creating new ones. If you are in a course that is working with a partner, ask them how they’re faring and how your team or you yourself can help from a distance. If you are interested in learning more about these challenges, read these two great resources:
From USG Faculty: Towards an Emergency Housing Response to COVID-19 in Georgia
Also, research virtual ways to help and contribute to your local community, as GT students may be in a unique position to provide virtual assistance.
Guidance for Faculty
We are happy to help any faculty think through how to adjust their courses, through one-on-one conversations. Please feel free to contact us at any time for assistance with courses or any other questions:
Rebecca Watts Hull, Service Learning and Partnerships Specialist
Ruthie Yow, Service Learning and Partnerships Specialist
I have an ongoing student project with a community partner that is continuing from a previous semester. How should I proceed?
First and foremost, it’s important to let your partner know what is going on. If you want to try to continue engaging with your partner via phone and/or online tools during your course this summer, ask them if they are open to doing that. Keep in mind that their lives, families, and communities are also being impacted by COVID-19 and this may no longer be a priority for them at this point. Additionally, their access to quality internet may be limited.
If the project is far enough along for students to work on it with no or minimal engagement with the partner, that may be an option to consider. If you do this, you will likely have to adjust project expectations and outcomes accordingly. For example, in place of additional in-person engagement with the partner, you could consider asking the course or project partner(s) if they are willing to participate in an online conversation with their team or the class. Or, in place of any additional partner engagement, you could require the students to do more research on the partner and/or their field (e.g., on the issue; on other organizations around the country doing similar work; etc.) and then to frame their final project in terms of that research.
If you think that it’s best to discontinue partner engagement, that is what you should do, even if your partner expresses interest in continuing. Your partner will likely understand - and may even be relieved. Also, consider picking the project up again in a future semester with another group of students; or SLS might be able to figure out how to help the partner get the project finished. Just make sure to communicate the status of the project (as well as sending any relevant documents) to your liaison in SLS.
I have planned for a student project/multiple projects with a community partner. How should I proceed?
If in-person engagement is central to the project, or if the project will require more than one or two phone calls or virtual meetings, please replace the project with a different assignment. Consider whether some aspects of the learning objectives could be pursued through online resources. For example, you could require the students to do more research on the partner and/or their field (e.g., on the issue; on other organizations around the country doing similar work; etc.) and then to frame their final project in terms of that research. Or there may be video options (such as TED talks) that speak to some of the themes you and the partner had intended to address. Whatever you do, please communicate with your partner.
If you are substantially changing the nature of the project/engagement with the partner, you may want to revise your Scope of Work with the partner (or if you have not created one, these dynamic circumstances due to COVID-19 are motivation to use a Scope of Work - SLS’s template is available here).
My partner has already been promised a stipend from SLS for their work with the course, but now I want to significantly modify the type and extent of that work, or cancel their engagement altogether. What should I do?
Work with your partner to figure out what is best for your course and them. If you make significant changes - reducing or expanding their work - just let your SLS liaison know and we will get in touch with the partner to figure out the details.
What should I do if my partner and I want to proceed with virtual options but I am not sure what platforms to use?
The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) at Georgia Tech has a number of resources to support online instruction. In addition, Georgia Tech Professional Education (GTPE) has led the development of additional guidance for faculty on virtual teaching, available here. See also: Five Tips for Moving Courses Online Quickly, from an OMSCS Instructor.
Beyond the platforms available to you through Canvas and other tools, like Bluejeans, in some cases “low tech” options may work well. For example, some communication could occur through group phone calls or by having a guest speaker join by speaker phone, while you share slides or other visuals through Canvas. Another consideration is student familiarity with the conferencing tools in Canvas. Some students may not have experience using the web tools available through Canvas. Again, please consult these CTL resources for guidance on helping your students adjust to the changes in class format.
I am restructuring the syllabus and would appreciate some ideas for online resources to use about sustainability or community engagement. What do you suggest?
The SLS Teaching Toolkit has lots of great teaching resources that are ready to use. Some of them may not work well for virtual teaching, but many can be easily adapted to online platforms. If you’re looking specifically for resources related to community engagement, here are a few we suggest. We’d be happy to help you figure out how to tailor them to be used online:
How can my students and I learn more about how COVID-19 is affecting partners and frontline communities? How can we help?
As challenging as all of this is for Georgia Tech, many of our community partners are facing even more serious challenges, as COVID-19 is exacerbating existing inequities and creating new ones. If you are working with a partner, ask them how they’re faring and how your course and your students can help from a distance. If you are interested in learning more about these challenges, read and share with your students these two great resources:
From USG Faculty: Towards an Emergency Housing Response to COVID-19 in Georgia
From the New York Times: “Why the Virus is a Civil Rights Issue”
Also you can encourage students to research virtual ways to help and contribute to their local communities. Partners such as New American Pathways are seeking volunteers to engage in online conversation practice with newly arrived individuals seeking to practice English. If you are interested in exploring opportunities, please let us know and we can help you.