Service-Learning (SL) as an instructional method is growing in popularity for giving back to the community while connecting the experience to course content. However, little has been published on using SL for online business students. This study highlights an exploratory mixed-methods, multiple case study of an online business leadership and ethics course utilizing SL as a pedagogical teaching tool with 81 students. Results from the study noted that hours completed exceeded those assigned and students identified outcomes for themselves, their university, and nonprofit organizations where they served. The outcomes of this study mirrored those identified by students in traditional face-to-face courses underscoring the value of SL projects in online courses in higher education.


This open access article was originally published in the Journal of Interactive Online Learning.


The Journal of Interactive Online Learning is published by a joint effort of The University of Alabama, the University of Texas at Tyler, and Miami University, as well as faculty from other institutions.

Date of publication

Winter 2016



Persistent identifier


Document Type


Publisher Citation

McWhorter, R. R., Delello, J. A., & Roberts, P. (2016). Giving back: Engaging online business students through academic service learning. Journal of Online Interactive Learning.

Included in

Education Commons



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