Experiential Learning in Online Post-Graduate Education: Utilizing YouTube to Create Service Learning Projects

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Brief Abstract

Service learning projects are an innovative and effective way to provide experiential-learning for students to develop socially responsive, service leadership skills and to become engaged practitioners in their specific fields of practice and their communities. This session will introduce participants to ideas for service learning projects through the YouTube platform.


Aubrey Statti, Ed.D. earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Spanish from the University of Florida and a Masters of Professional Counseling and a Doctorate of Education from Liberty University. She has worked in higher education for 13 years and has taught at the undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate levels in areas of psychology, counseling, education, and research at Liberty University, Arcadia University, Bryan College, University of the Rockies, and Walden University. Additionally, she has worked in the Florida public schools as both a high school teacher and a school counselor. Dr. Statti is currently a professor for The Chicago School of Professional Psychology's (TCSPP) Educational Psychology and Technology program, primarily teaching qualitative research and ethics courses. She also serves as a Dissertation Chair and reader on doctoral students' dissertations. Her research interests in the areas of educational technology include K-12 education, online education, early childhood education, digital storytelling, rural education, and the impact of mentorship in educational settings. Dr. Statti has served as a reviewer for the Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education journal and is currently on the development committee of TCSPP’s International Journal of Educational Psychology and Technology.

Extended Abstract

Experiential-learning methods are significant in higher education as a means to develop socially responsive, service leadership as well as informed, engaged practitioners in their specific fields of practice as well as in their local and global communities. The Association for Experiential Education defines experiential education as a teaching philosophy in which educators purposefully engaged with learners in direct experience and focused reflection in order to increase knowledge, develop skills, clarify values, and develop people’s capacity to contribute to their communities.  Service learning projects are an innovative and effective way to provide experiential-learning for students of all levels, even in post-graduate education.

While these projects often happen in the local communities of a student’s university, online learners can still benefit from their participation in this type of learning. However, there are significant challenges with providing online students the same unique exposure to service learning projects. Therefore, this presentation will discuss the faculty members’ experience in overcoming these challenges and their ideas for creating learning assignments that incorporate service learning projects through YouTube.

Students in the Educational Psychology and Technology (EPT) of The Chicago School of Professionally Psychology program complete their coursework in the online format all over the globe and therefore have limited options in terms of working together onsite in the community to serve others. However, service learning still remains a passion of the University as a whole in every learning modality and is a priority for our Department. We strive to provide opportunities for students to grow both as professionals but also as individuals in their awareness of the needs of others, specifically with under-served or under-protected populations. Therefore, we developed an assignment for EP725, Cognition Across the Lifespan and Technology’s Impact, that encourages students to think through how they can creatively impact others through virtual service learning projects.

This virtual project allows students to educate members of their communities as well as a global audience on significant topics related to the life span of development, through an accessible format. For example, students can develop videos educating women on important health practices during pregnancy, parents on important growth milestones in the infancy and toddler years, safe Internet guidelines for children, bullying and social media during adolescence, important decisions during midlife and retirement years, caring for an elderly parent with dementia, or grieving the loss of a loved one. Technology now impacts individuals at every phase of the life span and therefore, this service learning project allows student in the EPT program to develop educational support and guidance for individuals and families in the community, specifically members who may not have the ability or opportunity to seek out information beyond searching for a YouTube video online.

This assignment allows for students to integrate ideas of service learning and social justice into online learning and to specifically investigate how technology impacts various aspects of the lifespan. They also can develop a further sense of their interest and passions in social justice and their abilities to help others, through a remote setting, not limited by schedules or locations. Additionally, during this time of significant national and international health concerns, where many individuals are unable to leave their homes, this project allows students to still reach others through a virtual format and provide the education and support their communities currently need.

This discovery session will begin with a brief introduction to service learning projects as well as the specific example the EPT program’s service learning project. The session will then present other ideas for service learning through the YouTube platform. The session will conclude with a prompting for the audience to reflect on their own practices and how they might include service learning components in online teaching.

Though all participants are welcome to attend for an informative look into the use of service learning projects in online education, participants teaching or designing at the intermediate and advanced level in higher education will potentially gain the most benefits from the session. Participants will engage in the material through real-life examples, student feedback on the use of YouTube Service Learning Projects, and discussion dialogue through the VoiceThread platform.

Learning outcomes of the workshop include:

  1. Session participants will gain an understanding of the purpose of service learning in post-graduate education coursework.
  2. Session participants will discover the possibility of integrating service learning projects into online coursework.
  3. Session participants will be introduced to a specific service learning idea in an online doctorate of education program utilizing YouTube.
  4. Session participants will discuss potential opportunities for implementing service learning projects into their own online coursework.