The Catalan Universities Service-Learning Network (Xarxa d’Aprenentatge Servei de les Universitats Catalanes, or ApS(U)Cat) was created in July of 2015. It seeks to promote the exchange of experiences and to build knowledge on the promotion, implementation, evaluation and institutionalization of service learning in Catalan universities.
The ApS(U)CAT network is made up of professors from all of Catalonia’s universities, and it is also open to organizations involved in ApS projects and interested students. Since its creation, the network has met once a year, usually in July. Each meeting brings together those interested in discussing university service learning, and establishes coordinated actions for the academic year. So far, meetings have been held at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (2016), Rovira i Virgili University (2017) and the University of Girona (2018).
Service learning is a proposal for education and research that blends service to the community and academic learning into a single project. This allows students to learn while also working to improve their community and address its needs. Service learning is not just a learning strategy to ensure that students acquire knowledge, although it does seek to optimize their learning. Neither is it simply a series of volunteer activities to raise student awareness, although it is a good idea to use community service to encourage learning. Service learning is an educational proposal that combines learning and community service processes into a single, well-organized project.
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