CBL Logistics

Community Based Learning is a powerful educational tool. At George Mason, there are some policies and procedures to follow to ensure these experiences are safe and impactful

STEP 1 - Finding a Partner

Faculty or students should find a reputable community partner. The mission of this organization or the work being done at the site should align with course learning outcomes. 

If you're unsure how to connect with partners or need ideas of who to reach out to you can email us at cecil@gmu.edu or check out our Community Partners Database

STEP 2 - Pre-Reflection

Prepare your students to do engage with the community BEFORE they begin. We recommend having students complete an asset map of the community they're entering, research more about the issues the organization addresses, and reflect on their goals/fears/hopes. You can find Pre-Reflection Resources on our website. 

It is also recommended to go over behavioral expectations and ensure students know to act responsibly at their sites. 

STEP 3 - Experiential Learning Agreement

Contact Cara Snider about your course if you haven't been in touch with a CECiL staff member. Each student working at an off campus site must complete an Experiential Learning Agreement. We have made this form digital via DocuSign. 

Instructors can start this process one of two ways:

  1. Faculty can submit a roster to Cara Snider. The roster must include: student name and email, community partner site name, supervisor name, and supervisor email. This option is best if you know from the beginning which sites your students will be working with.
  2. Faculty can email Cara Snider asking for a form to be sent to their students to collect that information. This option is easier if you have students connecting with partners throughout the semester. 

Once we have this information, a DocuSign will be sent to each student. They will complete and digitally sign their portions of the agreement. Once they have signed, it will automatically be sent to the supervisor's email. It is vital to remind students to complete their portion ASAP. 

STEP 4 - Checking In & Reflections

It is a best practice to include reflection assignments throughout the CBL course so students can think critically about their experiences in the community and their coursework. 

We also recommend checking in with students about how their work is going and checking in with sites on how students are performing. If your course has many sites, a simple email or short survey may be an efficient way to gather this feedback. 

STEP 5 - Assessment

At the end of the semester, students will receive a link to a Qualtrics survey asking them about their experience. This is a chance to measure the impact of their CBL experience. Results of this assessment will be provided to the instructor. 

We also encourage instructors to have a final reflection with their students about the experience. This is a great way for students to synthesize their experience and make final connections between their coursework and experiences in the field.