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“Extreme” E-Student Philanthropy: Expanding Grantmaking Into Fully Online Classes and Assessing Outcomes for Students as Learners, Community Members, and Social Activists

Julie Cencula Olberding, Megan S. Downing


Student philanthropy is an active teaching strategy that enables students to lead a charitable grantmaking process and, in doing so, engage in the curriculum and learn about community needs and nonprofit organizations. About 20 years ago, professors began using the “learning by giving” approach in face-to-face classes. Since that time, some have expanded and innovated. This study is one of the first to examine electronic student philanthropy, or “e-student philanthropy.” Specifically, it looks at “extreme” estudent philanthropy in classes in which both the instruction and the philanthropy experience are fully online (Waldner et al., 2012). This study applies a conceptual framework that recognizes students as learners, community members, and social activists (Britt, 2012), and it analyzes outcomes of e-student philanthropy in three undergraduate classes and one graduate class at a metropolitan university. Survey results indicate the philanthropy experience had positive outcomes for online students on various measures, including interest in the course, learning and applying course material, awareness of community needs, awareness of nonprofit organizations, responsibility to help others in need, and belief they can make a difference in the world.

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student philanthropy; experiential philanthropy; online student philanthropy; e-student philanthropy; e-service learning; nonprofit organizations

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