Analysis of the status quo
Getting a comprehensive overview of potential cooperation partners is an essential prerequisite to addressing the task in the seminar. Potential partners for Service Learning projects include a number of different organisations, among them associations, public institutions, or social enterprises.
As a first step, students should describe the cooperation partners or relevant players and identify specific parameters, for instance legal form, organisational structure, size and core activities. They should focus on the aspects that are relevant to their task. The following guideline helps students identify relevant parameters: WHO does WHAT, HOW and for WHICH PURPOSE?
As a rule, the course provides a question or task which has been developed either by the cooperation partner or the lecturer and is linked to a specific problem. It is of crucial importance that all project participants have the same perception of the problem. Students should therefore discuss this matter in detail with the lecturer, the cooperation partners and any relevant players. During this delicate phase, this will help students ascertain that they have correctly understood their task and have included all relevant points. The following questions, which students initially answer themselves in the group (internally) and subsequently discuss with the lecturers or cooperation partners (externally), may be helpful in this context:
- What is the problem that we must solve?
- Who is directly affected by the problem?
- What causes the problem?
- What impact is our solution expected to deliver (in the short and long run)?
Assessment of the situation
As a next step, students should evaluate the overall situation based on the cooperation partners’ specific parameters and the problem they are addressing. They should compile the relevant information such that it facilitates their decision in favour of a specific suggested solution. SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats), a classic situation analysis and strategy identification tool, may help students in this context. Further information