Community-Based Learning (CBL) at Oberlin is a pedagogy in which faculty collaborate with community partners to identify community needs and goals and integrate these, through community-based research or class projects, into the academic goals of a course for the mutual benefit of the partner and student learning. The concept of “community” is defined broadly to include areas immediately neighboring the College & Conservatory (Oberlin, Lorain and Cuyahoga Counties, and greater Northeast Ohio) but also extends to national and international partnerships with non-profit organizations, NGOs, and government and public sector agencies.
Academic community-based learning may take the form of direct service projects or be theoretical or methodological, such as a foundational or introductory course that focuses on the ethics or methods of effective community engagement.
The CBL course designation indicates that the course has a community-engaged component based on the following criteria:
The instructor and the community partner/s identify a community need and agree upon mutually beneficial goals that are appropriate for student engagement and learning.
The instructor develops course learning goals that provide students with mentorship and skills necessary to succeed in a community-based learning experience.
The course structure is based on sound CBL pedagogical practices that include meaningful, reciprocal, and direct student interactions with the community partner/s, and address a community need or goal.
The instructor develops assessment mechanisms that include written or verbal student reflection, as well as direct feedback from the community partner/s (and served population when appropriate).
CBL Courses offered in 2019-2020: