If you are an SLM client, you'll notice that you can select a user group type when creating or editing a user group:

This article covers how these two types of user groups are different, and it explains how SLM user groups are particularly useful for courses that use service learning.

How Are They Alike?

First, let's look at how the two types of user groups are alike:

  • Both user group types can be associated with a banner, icon, and description that will be displayed for volunteers or students viewing service opportunities that have been assigned to them.
  • When being added to either type of user group, new members can be prompted to answer questions, providing important information for both the user group leader and the site manager.
  • Both offer a User Group Resume that all user group members can access.
  • For both types, user group members can click a button to view all needs, including private needs, that have been assigned to their group.
  • When adding hours, a member has the option of associating their hours with one of their user groups.
  • Volunteers or students may have the option of associating their submitted hours with more than one user group.

Why Use SLM User Groups for Service Learning?

SLM user groups offer a number of benefits that make them a good fit for your service-learning courses:

  • Unlike a standard user group, and SLM user group can have one or more designated SLM Leaders who can view member progress toward goals, add needs, approve or deny volunteer hours, and more. (See this table for a more comprehensive list.)
  • An SLM user group is associated with a particular block (semester or other academic period) and has a specific "respond by" date. Students can be required to respond to a service opportunity before that deadline.
  • An SLM user group can have a set goal for volunteer hours for each member (student). Students within the group can access a personal SLM user group page to view their progress toward the course goals.
  • Students can also be required to respond to only those service opportunities that have been assigned to the course. If they try to log hours for a different service opportunity, they will not have the option of associating those hours with the course.
  • An SLM Leader can attach reflection questions to an SLM user group. What this means is that each SLM user group member, when submitting hours for that group, can be asked (or required) to answer certain questions about the volunteer experience. You can pose a variety of question types, including one that can be answered with a file upload (such as an essay in a Word document). 
  • Students can be required to select a user group when logging their hours.
  • SLM user groups can have agencies assigned to them so that the SLM leader can post needs for the group on behalf of an agency.

Additional Resources

For more information on SLM user groups, check out these articles: