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Distance Teaching with Service Learning and Civic Engagement BETA

A Toolkit from University of Maine at Augusta, and University of Southern Maine

Print Version of the Toolkit: uma.edu/faculty-cedoc

Introduction: Welcome to the UC-CTEL CE Toolkit!

NOTE: The University College unit that contributed to the CE Toolkit was reintegrated fully with UMA in 2018 and changed its name to UMA Instructional services unit.

In 2014, University College (UC) embarked on a mission to connect the dots of its civic engagement work at our eight outreach centers around the state of Maine. Through this work, we discovered a critical gap in resources that address the needs of distance educators attempting to sculpt civic engagement or even service learning into courses that are taught in hybrid, blended, compressed video, or fully online environments. The literature we reviewed in this area was marginal, and the vast majority of research into civic engagement in educational settings was rooted in the traditional face-to-face classroom. In 2015, The University of Southern Maine’s Center for Technology-Enhanced Teaching and Learning (CTEL)  joined the construction of this toolkit with the hope of using the instructional design discipline--a discipline devoted to designing pedagogy using the best practices of distance education--would help to sculpt a strategy that faculty either new to distance-teaching or new to Civic Engagement would be able to use with fidelity.

Throughout this toolkit, you will see references to the resources we reviewed during our 3-year research-and-development of this tool. In 2009, the University of South Dakota created a Service Learning Handbook for Distance Learning. This handbook set the cornerstone for the toolkit you see before you. Though the handbook is out of print, we received permission from the creators to reshape the handbook they created into this toolkit with the understanding that this toolkit is licensed under the Creative Commons. In addition to the Service Learning Handbook for Distance Learning, much of the research and instructional material for Civic Engagement comes from the national and state (Maine) chapters of the Campus Compact, an organization devoted to helping “universities engage on issues that matter to communities beyond the campus.” [1]

This toolkit is intended for two primary audiences:

Faculty in the University of Maine System who teach or are planning to teach at a distance and wish to include Civic Engagement or Service Learning in their courses or programs.

Faculty anywhere who wish to use and/or adapt the templates and resources to facilitate their own distance courses with Civic Engagement or Service Learning.

The purpose of this toolkit is to:

  • Provide an overview of the value of Civic Engagement and Service Learning for engaging learners in higher education programs and courses

  • Contextualize Civic Engagement and Service Learning within the scope of a course’s or program’s instructional design

  • Provide examples, use-cases, scenarios, and strategies for managing Civic Engagement in distance learning environments

  • Share templates and handouts that faculty can reuse or modify for students in their courses and programs

This toolkit is also an iterative resource. As we encounter new research--particularly research from faculty within the University of Maine System who experience the toolkit--we will evolve the content to represent the best case studies, scenarios, and strategies we discover. If you would like to add your own case study to this toolkit, or you have feedback you’d like to offer to improve this resource, please contact UC Senior Instructional Designer at mina.mattthews@maine.edu Thank you!


Araminta “Mina” Matthews, Senior Instructional Designer for University of Maine Augusta (formerly University College)

Rucha Modak, Senior Learning Designer for University of Southern Maine

With Input from:

Shiva Darbandia, Librarian, Maine College of Art

Eleni Margaronis, Project Manager, Maine GEARUP

Anne Fensie, Instructional Designer, University of Maine Augusta (formerly University College)

Heather Nunez-Olmstead, Instructional Designer, University of Maine Augusta (formerly University College)

Pamela Proulx-Curry, Associate Provost for Community Outreach for University of Maine at Augusta

Lois-Ann Kuntz, Faculty at University of Maine at Machias

Sally Slovenski, Maine Campus Compact


  1. Campus Compact. Retrieved April 11, 2017 from: http://compact.org/what-we-do/ Web.


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