Key Terms

COMMUNITY-BASED LEARNING/SERVICE LEARNING: is a relatively new pedagogical approach in Ireland.  Essentially, it is experiential education with a civic underpinning. In practice, what this means is that students attain academic credit for the learning that derives from reflecting on the academic experience and service within community. Service learning encourages students to explore issues that are vital to society and community through a mix of methods that could include interviews, surveys and analyses, active participation in the work of the group, readings, discussion and reflection.

COMMUNITY-BASED RESEARCH: broadly describes a set of diverse approaches to research and methodologies that are community centered. These include action research, participatory action research, community engaged scholarship, community engaged research, participatory learning in action, emancipatory research to mention a few. These practices all denote a form of research that focuses on the effects of research with the goal or outcome of improving, understanding further or investigating further the issue of concern. Sometimes these methodologies involve the full support and inclusion of the community in terms of research design, acquiring and analysing data and the writing up and sharing of the findings.

CIVIC ENGAGEMENT: Campus Engage defines civic engagement as: A mutually beneficial knowledge-based collaboration between the higher education institution with the wider community, through community-campus partnerships including the activities of community based learning, community engaged research, volunteering, community/economic regeneration, capacity-building and access/widening participation.  

WIDENING PARTICIPATION: refers to the process of developing teaching and learning activities for community and involves the design of programmes for non traditional students drawing on innovative techniques, in diverse locations (virtual and physical) that are accessible to that particular learning community. Within the context of Ireland, strong practice has emerged over the last two decades in developing innovative programmes and pathways into higher education that meet community needs. These activities can be broadly described as widening participation and have involved adult and continuing education, distance and online learning, access and recruitment of diverse learners etc. There are additional models of deepening this domain. One idea might be the development of community fellowships where expert knowledge could be harnessed and shared in a formal institutional manner through the appointment of fellows.