Scholarship in Action: What Students Say About the Service Learning Experience
This class taught me to look beyond the "I" and "me" and become more about "We" and "Us" in the community. I walk away being forever changed and I'm sure any future student would as well. --Jave Brave Yoshi
Several students who participated in the Digital iCreation in the Context of Community course (aka "Digital Content Creation for Communities") were asked to reflect on their experiences.
Elizabeth Sarah Kaziunas
Digital iCreation is one of the most influential courses I have taken during my graduate school program in Information Management at SU. In partnering with a local organization, I got a chance to apply my IT skills in ways that made a positive impact in the Syracuse community. It is easy for students--myself included-- to live a self-absorbed existence at school, but this course pushed me to consider how my education could be used in ways that benefit those who do not have access to the knowledge or technological tools available to students at SU. Our community partner repeatedly expressed how grateful they were for the help I gave them in designing a website, but really it was a privilege for me to get to work them. As the semester progressed and I developed a relationship with our community partner, I discovered how I could use information technology to help further their work and mission on a very practical level. The Digital iCreation course was a deeply satisfying experience both an intellectually and personally, and I found that the course continues to have a profound impact my perspective on information management.
Being a graduate painting student means that I often find myself alone in my studio, spending hours on end trying to create a vision for myself. I wanted to share with the world that what I saw through my eyes were unique because of my background experiences. This however, was egocentric and self serving. While the lone artist in his studio is a very romantic notion, in many ways it has disconnected me from the outside world, within my immediate community and even sometimes my own friends. When I took the digital icreation class, I found myself being able to connect with others around me, and to use my creativity for a greater good. I wanted to help and I wanted to serve. I was able to use my abilities for others who could not have done so otherwise on their own, be it their lack of time, skill or money. This experience really made me feel like I was a part of a whole, and I didn't want any credit for it. Watching the smiles on people's faces was rewarding in and of itself. I found myself being excited to work. This class taught me to look beyond the "I" and "me" and became more about "We" and "Us" in the community. I walk away being forever changed and I'm sure any future student would as well.
The community service media project pushed me to achieve more than I would have for just another classroom project. As students, we frequently create projects and write papers that are mainly just practice. We may put them to work for us on an individual basis, but they fundamentally lack a deeper reason to commit and test ourselves. Doing a live project for community members who were not only generous enough to donate their time but who truly needed the work we produced inspired me to really pour myself into the work and give them everything I was capable of. I think it also resulted in a sense of accomplishment and confidence among the students that never would have happened with an average class project.
I enrolled into the IST 400 class not knowing much about a service learning course or how it would be as the semester progressed. As the weeks went by and I started developing core digital media skills and learning the most efficient ways for digital media to be produced. I developed an interest and I wanted to take what I learned further. It worked out great because the skills I recently acquired and developed were put to use right away in helping a local organization in Syracuse. My group was assigned specifically the Brady Faith Center of Syracuse who needed a video that could document the story of Father Brady from those who know him personally so his story would life on throughout generations. The satisfaction I gained from helping an organization in need was fulfilling and I hope to help others in the same way.
Read What Other Students Have To Say
A number of students commented on their experiences in an SU news article by Margaret Spillet. Another student, Shander Bawden, wrote about her experience in the iSchool Information Space blog. Read the post written by Shander Bawden.