Posted June 16, 2015
Reprinted from InterCom (pdf)
Story by Sarina DiNenna, senior public relations major
On a sunny April Sunday, SLIS students read selected children’s books out loud and handed out bicycle helmets at the Lexington County public library. Cocky made a surprise appearance that shocked the young children into oohhs and aahhs. This fun, interactive way of educating children on bike safety allowed the students to reach their end result of tying education to service learning. Although only five children attended this event, Dr. Elise Lewis’ students were fully engaged and genuinely excited to educate each individual child as if there were hundreds in attendance.
To Dr. Lewis, an assistant professor in the School of Library and Information Science, service learning is more than just a way to give back. Dr. Lewis gives her students a way to positively affect the community and engage in an experience that develops lifelong skills while having fun.
The creation of the SLIS 202 course, Introduction to Information Literacy and Technology, allows the school to learn and grow as a whole. This is a new course available to the entire university; undergraduate students of any discipline can enroll in it. This gives the university a glimpse of what SLIS has to offer.
"Including a service learning component reinforces the course content,” said Dr. Lewis. “It is empowering for students to realize they can do something small and have a really big effect on the community, and the soft skills make it worth while.”
Dr. Lewis believes strongly in the importance of her students seeing what the community looks like around them. Dr. Lewis used her USC Connect Integrative Learning Grant to achieve the goals of her students giving back to the community and interacting with others. Her students were able to learn real world skills that are applicable to any career path or major.
“I think getting students active in their community and the learning process is a win-win,” said Dr. Lewis. “Plus, no one wants to listen to someone lecture for hours on end.”
Dr. Lewis believes that students within SLIS are already exposed to service learning and the community but having this course available to students from other disciplines broadens the community outreach from the university as a whole. Taking a class that provides instruction, interaction, community outreach and lifelong skill development will give students an edge in an increasingly competitive job market.
“The skills that are taught in 202 are imperative for life–long learning,” said Dr. Lewis. “Whatever your major is, whatever your future career is you are going to have to deal with information and are going to have to deal with literacy in one way or another.”