Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Online Learning and Virtual Community Engagement

Resources for incorporating Community-Based Learning into your online course and Virtual Community Engagement

Contact a CBL Faculty Coordinator

If you are interested in incorporating community-based learning into your online course and/or Virtual Community Engagement, our CBL Faculty Coordinators are available to assist you! Coordinators can also help you:

  • troubleshoot any challenges that have come up in your existing CBL courses
  • develop and implement CBL options that are engaging and accessible for online learners.

Fill out the form for Faculty needs around a cbl assignment/project that is remote/online.

Digital Strategies for Engaged Teaching and Learning

For in depth support to develop and teach an online course, visit PCC’s Online Learning Department. Below are several articles, recorded webinars, and additional resources for incorporating community-based learning in online teaching.


Considerations for developing virtual/online community engagement component:

  • Preparation
    • Providing training for the parties involved
    • Clearly communicate expectations early and often
    • Clearly articulate the value and relevance of service-learning component/experience
  • Community Partners
    • If you opt for students to select community partners, provide clear guidelines and parameters
    • If you have specific community partners for the course
      • assess their technical capacity beforehand and coordinating technology options with them
      • include them in the course shell (create space for connection through guest lectures, discussions, reflection, etc..)
  • Time
    • Explicitly include time for cbl activities (deadlines to identify and contact community partners, individual and group reflection, community engagement, etc…)  in the syllabus
    • Consider work-life balance of your students if you are requiring specific hours/week
    • Plan extra time for unexpected outcomes
  • Reflection
    • Facilitate meaningful discussions about course material and community engagement experience
    • Utilize different modes for students to think, write, and talk (discussion board, zoom, etc..)
    • Schedule time to check in with students (can be done in small groups)

Compiled from:

Open Access Learning Modules for Faculty to Develop Curriculum

Minnesota Campus Compact curriculum for their Engaged Faculty Institute.
This includes resources for innovative uses of digital technologies to support civic engagement in higher education, as well as, community-based learning in online teaching. Some of their recommended links for examples are reposted below:

Virginia Commonwealth University Service-Learning Online
A self-paced, fully online series, open access learning module designed to help higher education instructors create online service-learning classes. Course is intended to take approximately 4-6 hours

Virtual Community Engagement

Virtual community engagement is a great option if you are looking to incorporate a cbl experience into your course, but also want to make the community engagement itself an online experience.

Finding Opportunities
Online Projects

These projects are in the process of bring reposted to PCC’s GivePulse group. This will allow students to easily log their impacts for your course.

  • PCC Learning Gardens: Collaborate with a Learning Garden Coordinator to come up with a fun and interactive virtual CBL project – Cascade, Newberg Center, Rock Creek, Southeast, and Sylvania.
  • Amnesty International: Amnesty Decoders is a platform for volunteers around the world to use their computers or phones to help our researchers sift through pictures, information and documents. (as of May 2020 no current projects, but great information and data from past projects)
  • Be My Eyes: Use the app to assist blind and low-vision individuals
  • Library of Congress – By the People: Improve access to history by transcribing, reviewing, and tagging Library of Congress documents.
  • LibriVox: Record audio books for books and materials created prior to 1923
  • Missing Maps: Map and/or validate areas where humanitarian organizations are trying to meet the needs of vulnerable populations
  • Project Gutenberg Distributed Proofreaders: Proofread free ebooks (1 page at a time)
  • Red Cross: Digital Volunteers sign up to monitor and engage through social media. Then report directly to the National Headquarters Social Engagement team in coordination with their local chapter communicators. Requires virtual training and committing to at least four (4) continuous hour shifts (including breaks). More virtual opportunities posted on their site.
  • Smithsonian: Translate documents
  • Write On Campaign: Site provides a list of opportunities to write to those in need
  • UN Volunteers (OnlineVolunteering.org): Searchable database of online opportunities to address sustainable development challenges anywhere in the world.
  • Zooniverse: online scientific research
General Ideas
  • conducting background research or gathering best practices or other information requested the partner(s)
  • taping, recording, or streaming performances or workshops to benefit community partner(s)
  • creating digital and other social media content, print program materials, or other methods for information-sharing
  • undertaking assessment, evaluation, or feedback via phone or web-based services
  • offering (or compiling, researching, or brainstorming) strategies that provide indirect support from volunteers as a result of coronavirus
  • conducting virtual or phone-based educational supports for youth and adults