Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS) in Communication Disorders


Communication Disorders


"Service-Learning (SL) is a pedagogical approach used to assist students in higher education in learning academic material by providing them an experience with a community partner. SL involves academic course objectives that are linked to a community need and includes student reflection on the experience (Goldberg, McCormick Richburg, & Wood, 2006). SL research is limited, but has been an increasing interest for medical, sociology, education, and communication disorders fields. This study describes the effect that SL has on academic learning related to neurogenic communication disorders, attitudes towards SL, and community benefits. One section of a senior level undergraduate course in neurogenics was offered during the Spring 2012 semester. Students were offered an opportunity to self-select into a SL seminar course. Students who opted to partake in SL were assigned to one or multiple communication partners, depending on the needs of the site, at a selected skilled nursing facility for two hours per week over ten weeks for a total of 20 hours of service. The mean assignment grades, exam grades, and total course grades were compared between the SL and non-SL groups to evaluate whether SL had a positive impact on academics. Pre- and post- participation surveys were administered to the SL group to determine attitudes and perceptions of the SL experience. A post-participation survey was provided to the activity directors from each participating facility to determine the perceived benefit that SL had on their community. No significant differences were found between SL and non-SL student grades. Based on the results of the SL participation surveys, both students and activity directors reported an overall perceived positive benefit of the experience. Measuring differences between grades may not be the most sensitive measure to determine the impact of SL on academics. Other measures, such as a follow-up survey from previous participating students may be more beneficial in determining SL's impact on academics, clinical preparedness, and other related skills (e.g; communication)"--Document.


Typescript. Vita.