Nora Fernandez Fernandez
Next Monday, November 7, the first session of the II Service Learning Conference (ApS) will be held, framed within the URJC Science and Innovation Week.
The event will take place on the Madrid campus and the ApS projects carried out during the 2021-2022 academic year at the Rey Juan Carlos University will be exhibited.
According to Rocío Samino, director of the URJC Service Learning Office, “those in charge of explaining and presenting the work will be the students, who are the protagonists. We wanted them to be the ones who expose the ideas, together with the results and the impact, so that they can tell us about their experience within the project. Of course, the coordinating teacher of each project will be supporting his team”.
The programs presented will be of various types and come from all the faculties and schools of the URJC, except the Higher Technical School of Telecommunications Engineering. Thus, projects of a legal, communicational, social or technological literacy nature, among others, will be discussed. This variety is due to the increase in the number of projects that there have been between last year and this year. Specifically, "in the academic year 20-21 there were four ApS projects and this year 21-22, 14", according to Samino.
For this reason, this second edition of the Conference is held on two different campuses, the first session being in Vicálvaro and the second, on November 14, in Móstoles. Registration for the event, still open, is made from the following link. In addition, the full program and the participants of each project can be consulted on the event page: Service Learning Conference.
On the other hand, Samino wanted to comment on the importance of this type of initiative, "which, in addition to allowing students to acquire curricular and social skills, do good for the community". Apart from being able to transfer the knowledge covered in class to reality, "this is a way of motivating and satisfying the students and, of course, the beneficiaries of these projects". This year the number of people who have benefited from these ApS initiatives has risen to more than 4000 people.
These proposals have been notably promoted by the National Agency for Quality Assessment and Accreditation (ANECA), after a meeting with the University Service-Learning Association.
At the meeting, the possibilities offered by current university regulations to institutionalize Service-Learning initiatives were discussed, and it was assessed how ANECA can contribute to promoting them from quality assurance and its different evaluation programs for teaching and research staff.
In particular, this ApS methodology has been developing more and more in many universities and has established itself as one of the most common innovation strategies, both in official degrees and in permanent training.