Service learning is meant to provide life-changing experiences to students as they serve the community. As students participate, they are encouraged to reflect on their role within the community and the multitude of ways that their newly-learned data visualization skills can be utilized to bring value and insight.
Just one example of this method was recently demonstrated through UNO's “Data Literacy” service learning course, where students worked with community partners, such as MilkWorks and Raise Me to Read, to provide new ways of visualizing data used by the community partners. Partners were able to use the students’ data visualization presentations to make more informed decisions about their organization's actions.
The effort, led by instructor Becky Brusky in the Fall 2021 semester, included six weeks during the semester where students used programs to help visualize data sets provided by the non-profits. As their final project, they presented their creations to their assigned community partners.
“I’m not a math person, so I thought the class was going to be a hard experience for me,” Ghiwa Zeineddine, a student in the Data Literacy class, said. “[Professor] Brusky made everything easier, you were engaged in it. When she was talking about this project, we were so nervous, but I think it was a great experience for us. It’s a great way to learn.”
Brusky said that this is not a one-and-done course. It will continue to exist and be offered for students who want a different approach to learning key math skills. She hopes that through courses like these, students will learn and become more confident in their math abilities while also serving their community.
“A lot of the difference with volunteer work versus service learning is that there’s so much more reflection,” Brusky said. “You are not just doing something and leaving, you’re trying to impact the rest of your life and the way you think about your education and about what you do.”
With the presentations for the class now complete, the community partners are able to discuss the findings and take action accordingly. For those students who have now moved on to their next set of courses, they have not only acquired important math skills, but also found a passion for the subject - and how it can be used to help others.
Interested in Taking a Service Learning Course?
UNO's Service Learning Academy works each semester with UNO faculty to offer a wide array of service learning opportunities through courses at all levels.
Course lists for Summer 2022 and Fall 2022 are live now with enrollment opening up beginning March 28. Use the "Program" function on UNO's Class Search page to select "Service Learning" and have all available service learning courses automatically filtered for you.
You can learn more about the Service Learning Academy and other course examples on their website.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.