Critical online service-learning pedagogy: Justice in science education

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the year 2020 the world changed dramatically. We went from busy lives spent largely away from home to spending most of our time at home while daily facing deepening national crises. With the violent, needless death of George Floyd, the simmering tensions around race in America boiled over, sending thousands into the streets to protest racial injustices. The world of science education has largely avoided discussing racism in our classes, but we can no longer ignore it. The events of the spring and summer have highlighted our need to integrate conversations and reflections on justice into science education. In this work, we argue that service learning can build this understanding from both theory and experience. Using a critical online service-learning framework, we have developed a service-learning course that incorporates dialogic communication, cross-contextual reflections, and positioning oneself as an ally. This perspective allows science and the community to prioritize relationships and humanity and reflect on our roles as professionals using the online interacting space. This course, taught at the beginning of the pandemic, focuses on critical online service learning for those studying public health. We discuss the challenges we faced moving critical service-learning pedagogy online and the compounding issues brought on by the pandemic itself.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Microbiology and Biology Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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