Developing Civic Engagement in Distance Higher Education: A Case Study of Virtual Service-Learning (vSL) Programme in Spain

Juan García-Gutierrez, Marta Ruiz-Corbella, Araceli del Pozo Armentia


Higher Education is demanding the need of a greater connection between its academic offer and the necessary civic engagement of the graduates. This has given Spain the opportunity, for just over a decade, to develop the methodology of service-learning, which combines both the theoretical and practical aspect of university learning with the practical development of solidarity and civic commitment of the students. At the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED, Spain) we have designed an online service-learning proposal, based on the virtual exchange which occurs between the students from the UNED and the University of Porto-Novo (Benin), requiring practical classes of Spanish. The result favours continuing with this virtual service-learning project aimed at the exchange with other universities; strengthening the planning of the training proposal for the development of ethical competence and civic engagement; the design of solidarity service action that enhances global citizenship and intercultural dialogue, consolidates digital competence, etc., all in a virtual educational environment.


Civic engagement; Virtual Service Learning; Higher Education; Open & Distance Learning; Global Citizenship; Intercultural Dialogue

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