FREE Student Self-Development Reflection Journals on e-Pubs! 


{West Lafayette, Indiana, August 22, 2013} – Now on Purdue’s ePubs is a new and FREE self-development journal focused on a student’s experiences in college.  This journal was created to help students document their college recreational and academic activities and how those events affect them personally and professionally.  This journal provides a guide for reflections and critical thought for students engaged in their first year of college. As they experience these new sites and feelings, they will be reflecting through questions regarding how they react and comprehend about the events around them. Some questions are also related to the logistics of their activities. Through the use of this book, new students will be able to ponder about college experiences and gain a broader understanding of the world around them.

For more information and to download these journals for FREE, go to

Office of Engagement Student Service Grants

Funds are available to provide grants to students or student organizations for work on community service learning projects.
The program, sponsored by the Office of Engagement, has the goal to expand the community involvement of Purdue students in partnership with communities, nonprofit agencies, schools, and governmental bodies.

A copy of the application and guidelines for the Student Grant Program for Community Service/Service Learning Projects can be found online at
All are encouraged to share this information with student/community organizations and others who may be interested in applying for the grant.

Applications are due for the fall semester projects on or before Wednesday, September 25, 2013.  Inquiries can be directed to Denise Hilton in the Purdue Office of Engagement at 49-40899 or

On August 15th, we are celebrating our freshman with a huge block party during their introductory to college life.  Not only do we have a huge amount of nonprofit organizations participating and sharing their wealth of knowledge, but we have all different members of the community engaging with our university students.  It's a beautiful thing!  During this celebratory evening, students have the opportunity to learn about the nonprofit organizations where they can volunteeer, to play bike polo, and race on tricycles!  Could it get any better than that?  So, why I'm sharing this?  I think it's exciting to see two cities and the university working collaboratively together to make sure our students feel invited and engaged in our community.  I encourage all communities to do this.  However, this is a huge undertaking!  We have several business representatives, city representatives, and members of our university that have decided to dedicate their time and energy into making our students and city great.  I'll report on how successful this event is.  Hopefully, students will learn about the value of service-learning as well, and reflect about how they can make

Funding can be a challenge for any university or college you may be working at.  The input and work is high, and the outcome may be low, especially if you don't get the grant!  I came across a website that will open up some avenues of service-learning grants.  Some may be small, but they are functional.  So, reflect about what grants you want; reflect the timeframe it requests; reflect how much time you have; and reflect about the outcomes a grant can provide.  Cheers!
 Now on Purdue’s ePubs are two new Service-Learning reflection journals available for download, and it’s free!  These academic tools were created to help students with Service-Learning and Academic Community Engagement assignments and projects.  One of the journals titled Service-Learning Reflection Journal, consisting of more than 100 pages, provides a guide for Service-Learning projects that may last from a few days to a few weeks.  One of the items it offers is a quantitative assessment for the beginning and the end of the Service-Learning project.  The journal has reflection assignments to help prepare for the Service-Learning project, as well as the conclusion of the project.

The second journal, the International Service-Learning Reflection Journal, is specifically created for international study abroad courses.  It provides pre-entry assignments and re-entry assignments to help with the reflective process.  The journal also has a quantitative assessment for the beginning and end of the project.

Reflection in the classroom is an important teaching tool for critical thinking.  Students have the opportunity to enhance their learning experience by answering prompted questions that stimulate thoughts and ideas.  For more information and to download these journals, go to for the International Service-Learning Reflection journal or for the Service-Learning Reflection Journal. 

For more information about Service-Learning on campus or other Service-Learning activities, please contact Margaret Sass at or 765.494.4477





 If you are interested in posting or watching specific educational videos , a great website is Edutube.  Edutube  consists of educational videos which have significant educational direction.  They claim to  have 1200 educational videos which they rank  based on factors such as popularity and educational content. 

When you visit their website, you will see tabs for “highest-rated” videos, “most popular” videos and “top 100”.  You can also join a forum  or a group, or you can create your own.  For example, they have one group called “TEDTalks” and another titled “School of Health and Social Resource Sharing” which is only opened to members.

For more information on this cool tool, go to

What is a vlog?  In essence, vlogging means a combination of a video and a blog.  Vlogging, also known as videoblogging, is using a video to blog about certain thoughts, topics, or subject matter.  With cell phone having audio tools and video capacity, it’s easy to create one of these vlogs.  In the most basic form, the blogger verbally talks into the camera, somewhat like the television show Survivor when tribal members list why they voted someone off the island.  It can become much more complex if the creator adds music, pictures and text. 

Though the main purpose for vlogging is for entertainment and marketing, the use as a tool in higher education should be examined further.  If a student is required to vlog immediately about a situation, then the vlog can capture their emotions and initial thoughts, making the context much richer.  For example, if a student is helping the community with the aftermath of a hurricane, this vlog can be an accurate tool for capturing his/her reaction while viewing the damage.  Vlogging also sparks the creative part of a student’s learning.  This generation is very visually and technology orientated, so incorporating a vlogging assignment can enhance their educational experience. 

The vlog could be a few seconds to several minutes, depending on what the assignment is.  Also, the instructor can request that the student share their vlog with peers, allowing classmates to examine each other’s reflections.  Ifyou want to learn more about vlogging and examples, go to  However, you can find several on YouTube by typing in vlogs or videoblogs.

If you haven't had the chance yet, go check out  This great website can offer a lot of educational fun for your students (K-6).  I don't recommend it in higher education.  This site is free, but if you want to create a classroom on voki, this will add an expense, even though it's not too much.  On this site, kids can create avatars to communicate their thoughts and have fun doing it!

So how does this relate to service learning?  All ages need to learn to reflect about what they are doing in and outside the classroom, right?  Voki is just another tool to encourage them to do so.  You can give them a question about their service learning project, and they can respond through their avatar.  They can change the voice, the look, the clothes, etc.  This allows them to think about what their avatar will say.  Each student's avatar can then talk to another student avatar.  You now have created an internet class and deep discussions! 

Any tool that encourages creative reflection and thought should be explored.  Voki is an additional option to make your classroom a little more interesting and exciting.  I suggest that you take a peek.  Look around and see for yourself how fun it is to make your own avatar :0)

It seems that we get busier and busier.  We work more hours and maybe spend less time with family and friends, especially with the economic crisis the United States.  Even though the economy is tough, be grateful for what you have, especially if you are still employed.  Whether you are financially secure or not, providing service to your community should be part of your life.  There are so many people out there suffering that we have the obligation as a human to help the people and animals that live with and around us. 

As an extremely busy person myself, I try to incorporate some community service into my daily activities.  How? I'm not suggesting going to Hospice and volunteering a couple of hours.  I'm referring to acts of kindness which is a form of community service.  Here a list of actions to think about:

*  hold the door for people, whether they say thank you or not
*  let someone in a line of traffic
*  when you go to purchase an item, ask the cashier how his/her day is.  And listen.
*  write a thank you note for someone
*  leave a nice sticky note for someone
*  write an email of appreciation to a coworker
*  pick up trash while walking your dog
*  give a dollar to a homeless person
*  tell a veteran "thank you"
*  bring your neighbor baked goods
*  tell your server at a restaurant "thank you" and really mean it

These are just a few suggestions.  What I'm really suggesting is think about your daily actions.  Are you focused on yourself, not acknowledging those around you?  Do you show people that you care?  Maybe it's time to give a little more back, even if it takes just a few seconds of your time.