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First Year Experience Seminar Online Textbook

This is the main textbook for FYE Seminar to be used beginning Summer 2017

4.3.1 Community and Community Based Learning

Community

You are a member of your family, which is a small community.  You are also a member of the community of students at Tulsa Community College.  You may be a member of many other communities, such as friend groups, spiritual communities, online communities, employment communities, and others.  You are also a member of the larger community of Oklahoma and the United States. 

Tulsa Community College

Tulsa Community College (TCC) was opened in 1970 with one campus in downtown Tulsa.  Since then, the college has grown to meet the needs of the community of Tulsa.  The mission of TCC is:

Tulsa Community College betters its community through the intellectual achievement, creative energy, and responsible citizenship of its students, faculty, and staff by their engagement in teaching, learning, and service opportunities that transform and enrich lives.  Tulsa Community College commits to innovative, flexible, and affordable public higher education that responds to a dynamic global environment.

Part of the mission describes the importance that TCC places on being a responsible citizen and engaging in service opportunities.  In essence, this means that TCC wants its students, faculty and staff to be active and positive members of the surrounding community.

What is Community-Based Learning?

Community-Based Learning (CBL) is a way of teaching and learning that links academic learning topic with the surrounding communities, including local institutions, history of the community, literature appropriate to that particular community, cultural heritage, and natural environments. For example, students who are learning about Oklahoma art might spend class time going to an art museum and seeing the art “in person” and in context.  In this Academic Strategies course, for instance, you are required to participate in five hours of community engagement.  The thought behind CBL is that our community has rich resources.  CBL strategies could also include volunteerism.

What is Service-Learning?

Service-learning is a type of CBL.   Tulsa Community College uses the following definition of service-learning:

 

Service-learning is a form of experiential education characterized by all of the following:

  • Student participation in an organized service activity
  • Participation in service activities connected to specific learning outcomes.
  • Participation in service activities that meet identified community needs.
  • Structured time for student reflection and connection of the service experience to learning.

Abes, Jackson & Jones (2002)

 

Tulsa Community College offers service-learning classes. If you are a student who likes to be involved, these courses might be for you!  Also, if you are in the Tulsa Achieves program, you can receive credit for your service-learning course hours.  Please see below for how to find a service-learning course at TCC.

4.3.2 Excercise: Search for Service Learning Courses

Searching for courses with the Service-Learning Designation

1.  Log into My TCC and click on “My Account”

picture of mytcc with arrow pointing at My Account

2. Under the box labeled “Enrollment/Registration Tools”, click on “Look Up Classes by Subject and Enroll”

MyTCC picture of link to look up classes

3.  In the drop-down box, select the term you are searching for (Service-Learning designation starts Fall 2015)

4.  Read the statement and click "I Agree" on the payment arrangement screen

5.  On the "Look Up Classes" screen, click "Advanced Search"

subject menu picture

6.  To view all the available Service-Learning classes, highlight all the subjects.  (Select “Accounting” and then press and hold the “Shift”, scroll to the bottom and highlight “Veterinary Technology”) 

7.  Next, under the box marked “Attribute Type” please scroll down and then select “Service-Learning”

arrow pointing to service learning in a menu picture

8.  Now hit "Section Search" and all the Service-Learning classes should be displayed

9.  Service-Learning classes will show an attribute on the schedule that looks like this:

picture of classes

Questions for Discussion:

What different communities do you belong to?

What types of resources do those communities provide?

How do you contribute to communities?  How do you contribute to the TCC community?  How do you contribute to the Tulsa area community?

How can you better become involved in the TCC community?

4.3.3 Diversity

Diversity

Since the late 1700s, the term “melting pot” has been used to describe America. A country largely built on immigration from other countries, America has long boasted in its reputation for being a place where freedom-seekers could live without fear of persecution.

While we stand as one country, we do not desire to lose track of the separate histories, cultures and ideas that make up our national identity. Learning how to respect all those who make up our country is foundational to an understanding of where we came from as well as to a fuller ability to participate as a citizen.

The nation is seeing a resurgence of interest in this concept, something that is commonly called diversity, and institutions of higher education are becoming particularly key players in this focus. As a student, you should be aware of this concept and of its benefits, both to you and to others.

What is Diversity?

Many use the word diversity as a synonym to the word multiculturalism, and this is definitely a big part of its definition. But the word diversity actually has broader implications too. A diverse population is one that consists of individuals from different genders, ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, religious preferences, ranges of physical and intellectual ability, and sexual orientations. A diverse educational experience, then, is one that seeks to accommodate and to understand the differences in ideas represented by each group and to create an educational experience that incorporates various perspectives into the curriculum.

Why is Diversity Important for Higher Education?

A diverse educational experience is important for many reasons. We experience learning at a higher level when we learn from those whose beliefs differ from our own. Education does not take place when our biases and assumptions are reinforced. Rather, we learn best when our stereotypes are challenged, when we learn to truly listen to other perspectives, and when we understand that our sense of community is much broader than our own narrow experiences.  This doesn’t mean that we all leave college agreeing; rather it means we strive to leave college having a better understanding of others. This kind of experience assists students outside of college as well. More businesses are increasingly emphasizing diversity in their job descriptions, so embracing the diverseness of the student population here at TCC can better prepare you for the job market ahead. More generally, understanding and embracing diversity will prepare you for the complexities of this world in the increasingly pluralistic society in which we live.

Ways you can experience diversity here at TCC

There are many ways you can directly enhance the diversity of your educational experience here at TCC. Here are just a few of them:

  • Participate in a study abroad course
  • Take a foreign language course
  • Participate in or attend a minority group parade like the MLK day parade
  • Enroll in a Service-Learning Course
  • Volunteer in the Community
  • Attend an international festival
  • Make an effort to truly listen to others in class discussions

4.3.4 EXERCISE: Diversity questions

Questions for discussion

Sometimes the term “melting pot” has been criticized because it focuses on one central identity (all the ingredients have “melted” creating one ingredient) rather than on the individual components. Can you think of a metaphor might better describe America’s diverse population?

When are some instances in American history when our country has not emphasized diversity and what have the consequences been?

What aspects of your identity define you? Do any of them come from your cultural or ethnic background?

Have you ever thought to yourself, “How could someone possibly think that way?” How can embracing diversity help you in conflict resolutions?

Do you feel that diversity about giving individuals a right to express themselves or an opportunity to understand others?

List two or more ways that you plan on becoming enriched by diversity here at TCC.

4.3.5 College Diversity: Video Links

Here is a link to the transcript to "A Class Divided."

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