0857 Service Learning I
Dr. Manuel Scholz-Wäckerle
Weekly hours
Language of instruction
08/31/23 to 09/30/23
Registration via LPIS
Notes to the course
Subject(s) Master Programs
Day Date Time Room
Thursday 10/12/23 03:00 PM - 05:30 PM D3.0.237
Thursday 11/02/23 03:00 PM - 05:00 PM D4.0.047
Thursday 11/16/23 03:00 PM - 05:00 PM D2.0.374
Thursday 12/07/23 03:00 PM - 05:00 PM D4.0.047
Thursday 01/25/24 10:00 AM - 01:00 PM D3.0.218

The course bridges theory and practice in the context of the social ecological transformation. Students are encouraged to use their creativity, experiences and knowledge in order to develop their own particular transformation project in the Austrian context. The project shall have an interdisciplinary fundament in theoretical perspective and shall work within a science-society interface in practical terms. The transmission and persistence of a progressive approach to the social ecological transformation shall get achieved and enhanced via dynamic stakeholder dialogues, opening as well as enabling of public discourses on transforming social ecological relations, emergence of novel institutions, meso units, collectives or assemblages as well as education for sustainable development.

The course will deconstruct a holistic understanding of the social ecological transformation in its economic, ecological, social, cultural and political sphere in practice. It offers students the opportunity to understand different perspectives of sustainability via an experience based learning approach/service learning method.

Learning outcomes

Students understand the context-dependent dynamics between theory and practice as well as emergent institutions, meso untis, collectives or assemblages within the framework of the  social ecological transformation. They are able to explain central cornerstones of inter-and transdiscipliarity, science-society interfaces, education for sustainable development and are able to develop a service learning project dealing with a particular sustainability challenge in the greater realm of the  social ecological transformation.

Further learning outcomes:

-    Critical understanding and holistic perspective on the concept of social ecological transformation

-    Students not only learn from the experience of the service alone, but by reflection on and creating meaning from the experience

-    Students involvement in the community is encouraged, networking is fostered

-    Individual personality development

-    Communication and group skills

-    Complexity awareness, problem analysis, critical thinking and cognitive development

-    Real life experience contributes to professional/career development

Attendance requirements

attendance is mandatory in first and final collective meeting of the course

during the term, students will have individual appointments with the lecturer and the project stakeholders.

group-based coaching with lecturer


Teaching/learning method(s)

The method of service learning or learning by engagement represents a distinctive form of experiential learning. It represents one of the most promising methods promoting eduction for sustainability as it is an alternative teaching approach where students are confronted with real-world problems and try to find solutions cooperating with partners such as communities, NGOs and companies. Service Learning integrates a service activity into academic curricula and is based on the concept of “learning by doing”. Students learn and develop through engaging in concrete projects by meeting the needs of communities and making personal experiences, embedded in an academic learning environment where they can reflect upon their actions.

Service learning fosters autonomous operation of students to address a problem or need in society. Students shall design particular solution concepts for urban challenges in the local area.

Coaching includes four phases - "Preparation, Action, Reflection and Evaluation" and will be supported via the lecturers.

The particular format of the course trains amongst others problem-solving skills, conflict resolution skills, networked thinking, teamwork and organization skills.


- Continuous Group Contribution - Organization, Communication and Coordination of the Service Learning Project with your Stakeholders and your Lecturer (30%)

- Group Project Report (20%)

- Final Group Service Learning Poster (30%)

- Individual Research Diary -  From the beginning on keep an individual updated service-learning research diary (20%)

Prerequisites for participation and waiting lists

Prerequisites for Incoming Exchange Students nominated by WU partner universities:

Minimum requirements to attend this course:

•    Economics (accumulated minimum of 16 ECTS credits) OR

•    Social sciences (accumulated minimum of 16 ECTS credits) OR

•    Mathematics / statistics / quantitative methods (accumulated minimum of 16 ECTS credits)

Proficiency in English is required. If you do not meet this requirement, we reserve the right to withdraw students from the course.


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Last edited: 2023-09-19