Individual Service Learning Project

A critical part of your learning is getting experience doing real-life things. Sometimes, it means putting yourself out there and aggressively finding and pursuing an opportunity to get real-life experience. Real-life experience gives you more confidence to seek the kind of career you want in the future.

During the semester, you will be required to complete a service learning project related to your studies of oceanography. These projects involve real-life, hands-on activities in cooperation with a government, private or non-profit agency.

The following agencies are approved for service learning in this course:

No other activities or agencies will be accepted. Beach cleanups will not be accepted unless you are performing such activities as a volunteer assisting an agency to organize the cleanup.

Before you perform any service learning activity, you MUST fill out a release of liability form. Service learning projects will not be accepted unless you have submitted the form BEFORE you perform your service learning. Click here for a copy of the release of liability form.

Click here for a list of contacts for the approved service learning agencies.

This project will require that you call or e-mail the agency and make an appointment to participate in their activities. Explain who you are and what you are trying to do. Ask the agency if there is anything that you could volunteer to do that would help them. Grunt work and paperwork is okay. With Earth Day coming, there should be plenty to do. Here is a sample of what to say or write:

To receptionist: Hi, I'm (your name). I am an oceanography student at Fullerton College and I am looking for volunteer opportunities with your organization. Can you connect me with the volunteer coordinator? Thank you.

To volunteer coordinator: Hi, I'm (your name). I am an oceanography student at Fullerton College and I am looking for volunteer opportunities with your organization. I need to complete four hours of service learning as part of the requirements for my oceanography course. I realize it's not a lot of hours but I am willing to do anything I can to help. I mostly want to be exposed to the types of work you do and get familiar with public outreach to conserve our oceans. Any way you can help me would be most appreciated.

If the agency you contact has no opportunity for you to participate, you must find another agency. If you cannot find an agency among the ones listed, contact me immediately. I will find one for you.

You are expected to devote no less than 4 hours to the activity. You must document your activity with the offiicial timesheet. The official timesheet must be completely filled out, dated and signed by your service learning agency supervisor. Your timesheet is worth 100 points, 25 points for each hour worked. Click here for a copy of the official timesheet.

Finally, you must keep a journal of how your project contributed both to your understanding of oceanography and to the development of your personal career goals. Get a notebook and take notes before, during and after your service learning experience. Use your notes to reflect on your experience. Start writing in it TODAY! You have plenty to say already, "this project sucks, I have no idea where to start, I found a great project today, this is the best thing I've ever done in my life, etc, etc, etc."

Take your journal with you everywhere you go and write in it when you have fifteen minutes between classes or are waiting for a ride or any free time. Try to pick a regular time to write in it and write something in it every day. It's okay if you don't write a lot but even a sentence helps.

Date all your entries so you can keep track of them. Write freely not worrying about spelling or grammar. Trust your journal with your most personal feelings. I will never read your journal BUT...

You will write up your notes in a formal paper and submit it to me in the body of an e-mail by 1159PM, Wednesday, May 8, 2002. Your paper is worth 50 points. Papers will be graded for organization, thoroughness, depth of thinking and ability to connect your service learning experience to your studies. Points will be deducted for mispelled words, improper grammar, poor sentence structure and other elements of proper English. Go to the writing center if you need help or send me a draft before the due date and I will review it.

For more information on keeping a journal (which is a great life skill to develop anyways) go to This site offers some wonderful tips on the fine art of journalling.

The entire service learning project is worth 150 points or 15% of your final grade.