Awareness Raising in Higher Education Through Real-Life Project Experiences

Nazenin RUSO
Dr. Eastern Mediterranean University


Problem Statement: Education should equip students to function meaningfully within the community. A teacher should feel the need to teach his/her students the attitudes everyone would like to see such as caring for others, positive interaction with others and being a useful member of the community. From an educational perspective, it is important for educators to provide opportunity for students to challenge their evolving values, interests and awareness for others to lay a foundation for more holistic personal development. The main problem is that personal development which belong to affective goals of higher education are not emphasized as much as academic goals. Therefore, this paper, with reference to The Community based Service Learning (Cbsl) Projects, presents a useful framework to serve personal development of the learners through awareness raising.

Purpose of the Study: This research looks at the emerging field of organizing community based service-learning (Cbsl) projects for school reform in the context of Eastern Mediterranean University School of Tourism and Hospitality Management and this study explores the utility of Cbsl projects as a teaching method of awareness raising.

Methods: This study consists of an action research project in the mode of case study method as it attempts to explore a unique phenomenon, Cbsl. It employs qualitative and quantitative research. Triangulation, which involve different methods to gather information, was preferred and the desired data were collected through pre-test, post-test, reflective papers and semi-structured interviews.

Findings and Results: The challenging and the dynamic nature of the service had great potential to transform students’ lives. Findings are suggestive of a positive change in students’ social, self and future awareness development due to Cbsl exposure. Reflective practices about project experiences made students think more deeply about issues that they normally did not think about.

Conclusions and Recommendations: The results of this study are noteworthy and clearly reveal the importance of Cbsl projects mainly followed by reflection. They are enriching experiences which should be a mandatory component of the curriculum. Implications from this study illuminate ways to improve the design of curriculum especially to meet the needs of community and at the same time raising awareness of students on real life issues. For all these reasons, students should be involved in some kind of community service under appropriate supervision in every stage of their education because applying Cbsl to students have the potential to provide a foundation for life-long learning.

Keywords: Cbsl (Community based service-learning) projects, awareness raising, instruction, reflection, curriculum.