Putting Theory into Practice: Incorporating a Community Engagement Model into Online Pre-professional Courses in Legal Studies and Human Resources Management


  • Antoinette France-Harris, J.D. Clayton State University
  • Christie H. Burton, Ed. D. Clayton State University
  • Mara Mooney, J.D. Clayton State University




community engagement, service learning, experiential learning, online learning, student perceptions, legal studies, paralegal studies, human resources, human resources management


As part of community-engaged educational partnerships, students are paired with community members in instructor-focused activities linked to an academic curriculum.  Scholars widely agree that this type of approach can significantly improve the learning experience for students while simultaneously having a positive impact on the community.  As faculty in higher education implement this pedagogical tool, it is a natural progression for it to expand into online classrooms.  In particular, while there is a growing body of research related to community engagement in online healthcare and science-related fields, less research exists on the incorporation of community engagement in other types of online pre-professional courses.  This paper explores student perceptions in online pre-professional undergraduate courses in the legal studies and human resources fields in which community engagement projects were utilized.  These experiences should lead to a deeper understanding of the benefits and challenges of community-engaged online classrooms and give guidance for developing future projects.

Author Biographies

Antoinette France-Harris, J.D., Clayton State University

Assistant Professor, Legal Studies

Christie H. Burton, Ed. D., Clayton State University

Professor, Technology Management

Mara Mooney, J.D., Clayton State University

Professor, Legal Studies


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