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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Designing and Implementing a Service-learning Curriculum for Study Abroad Programs in Developing Countries

Donna Cowan, Rachel Faber Machacha.

The service-learning curriculum was designed for Experience Kenya, a comprehensive immersion study abroad program in a developing country. Credit-bearing classes in pre-departure orientation, on-site instruction in Kenyan culture and a capstone reflective paper were woven into the learning outcomes of the program: For students to harbor greater awareness and sensitivity to Kenyan society and culture as well as engendering a sense of service to the host community. Viable service-learning partnerships were established through a two-pronged linkage strategy encompassing academic and community service institutions. Service-learning was achieved through cognitive learning in pre-service briefings, on-site service and continuous reflective assessment. Successful completion of the program required maintaining a reflective, analytical journal throughout the experience as well as writing a capstone reflective paper. Efficacy of the curriculum model is demonstrated in a general increase in student levels of reflective judgment and an improvement in epistemic knowledge test scores.


Donna Cowan  (United States)
Professor, International Programs

Iowa State University

Donna L. Cowan, Ph.D. University of Wisconsin, Madison; Attended Indiana University; Iowa State University: Served as College Associate Dean, Academic/International Programs, Director, Korea Fulbright Group; Participant, AID Indonesia; Coordinated institutional linkages: Kenya, Sudan, Scotland/England, New Zealand, Pakistan, Switzerland, Taiwan;
Research interests: international curriculum and programming,
service-learning, study abroad models, women's issues (Africa.)

Rachel Faber Machacha

  • Designing and Implementing

(60 min Workshop, English)