Educating with the Community: Service Learning Assessment for Design Education

Bernasconi, Claudia, Mariarosaria DiPalo, and Alena Bower

The research project involved the development, enactment, and assessment of new service learning opportunities in design education, with emphasis on community project-based instruction. Research on service learning for design education provided the foundational knowledge to define a new course  that allowed UDM students to understand important fundaments of design pedagogy while teaching middle school students from Detroit Community Schools. A key aspect of the study was the definition of educational tools and projects as well as ad hoc assessment tools. The objectives within the overall goals were: 1) to understand key findings from current literature review, develop a theoretical framework, and define targeted outcomes for the served population and the group administering the teaching (i.e. the UDM students); 2) to develop a new community based service-learning curriculum and new assessment tools (i.e. written and visual surveys) in order to test the effectiveness of the new curriculum; 3) to identify key outcomes for both the population served and the group administering the teaching; and 4) to define teaching/learning recommendations and future directions for service-learning in design education. Preliminary results will be presented, providing new insights on service learning outcomes within the field of design pedagogy.