What are Service-Learning courses?

As a learning format, Service-Learning specifically combines academic learning and civic engagement.

Students, lecturers and community partners contribute to Service-Learning courses on an equal footing. This enables them to put what is learned into practice, reflect on research and address socially-relevant issues – bringing added value to everyone involved.As part of the CIVIS project, our Service-Learning courses gain an international dimension.

The five major challenges CIVIS aims to respond to are (1) Health, (2) Cities, Territories and Mobilities, (3) Digital and Technological Transformation, (4) Climate, Environment and Energy, (5) Society, Culture, Heritage. For more detailed information please click on the links on the right.

Examples of Service-Learning Courses

CIVIS Open Lab: Inclusion, aging and care as a societal challenge

In the 2021/2022 winter semester, students at the University of Tübingen dealt with the topic of "Inclusion, Aging and Care as a Social Challenge" in a CIVIS Open Lab course. The course was led by Prof. Dr. Daniel Buhr, Dr. Sandra Evans, Ugur Geyik and Prof. Dr. Udo Weimar and - due to the pandemic - took place in a mix of pure online and hybrid sessions. In addition, four longer workshops were held in the Tübingen LebensPhasenHaus during the semester.

In the course, the students were able to deal intensively - in theory and practice - with demographic change and its social effects (e.g. health, care, inclusion and social coexistence). Conceived as a Service-Learning course, it aimed on the one hand at the concrete application of various (social) scientific methods (e.g. surveys, interviews, participant observation), on the other hand at the promotion of civic engagement by working together on concrete challenges that could be worked on in projects with researchers from the university as well as social enterprises and civil society actors in the region. Design thinking methods (e.g. exercises in a senior suit) were also used here, which could be further deepened in a co-creation workshop with potential users. At the end of the event, the project results of the student groups were presented, reflected on and discussed with various representatives from civil society and social enterprises.

The course took place as part of the CIVIS micro-programme.

Find more information about CIVIS Open Lab Tübingen on its website.

Digital directory for refugees

Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Martin Seeleib-Kaiser

Learning content: Teaching basic skills in community social policy and the social rights of EU citizens, acquiring skills in independent research and teamwork, how to create and structure a hierarchy of information, further development and updating of an existing app

Service aspect: Cooperating with representatives from the authorities, associations, etc., that work with immigrants, creating a directory for immigrants


Lecturers: Katrin Gildner, Johannes Lauterbach, Volker Rekittke, Markus Trämer

Community partners: Colibri e. V., FAIRstrickt

Learning content:

  • Human rights in the global supply chain: Understanding issues related to human rights, policy analysis methods
  • “Fast Fashion or Fair Fashion?”: Acquiring journalistic skills
  • Online communications for Fair Fashion: Editorial skills for blogs, conducting interviews, writing skills

Service aspect:

  • Human rights in the global supply chain: Public workshop to present results
  • “Fast Fashion or Fair Fashion?”: Writing a co-authored press article
  • Online communication for Fair Fashion: Planning and producing blog articles


Promotional work for the “Kinder-Uni” (Children’s University)

Lecturers: Luisa Blendinger, Katrin Gildner

Community partners: "Kinder-Uni" (Children's University) of the University of Tübingen

Learning content: Planning and realizing a workbook with playful and child-appropriate content designed to spark interest in attending the Kinder-Uni. This involves editorial work and learning the basics of media production

Service aspect: Creating a workbook

Result: Workbook

From text to book: podcast and podium

Lecturer: Katrin Gildner and Dr. Franz Huberth

Cooperation Partner: Tübingen bookstore Quichotte, author Nancy Hünger, editor and publisher of the small publishing house Edition Azur Helge Pfannenschmidt

Learning Content: Content research, interviewing and getting to know the media-technical implementation of a podcast, insights into the professional fields around the "book"

Service Aspect: Production of a podcast on the topic.

Result: Podcast "Vom Text zum Buch - ein Literatur-Podcast von Studierenden der Uni Tübingen"

“Wir filmen: 'Das Konzentrationslager von nebenan'” [We are making a film: The concentration camp next door]

Lecturer: Dr. Harald Weiß, freelance filmmaker and teacher

Community partners: Historic memorials in the Gäu-Neckar-Alb region

Learning content: Introduction to audio and visual recording and digital editing, documentary film production, conducting interviews, research, planning and organization of film recordings

Service aspect: Work at sites of historic memorials

Result: "Das KZ von nebenan" film