What is a Learning Community?
T his an innovative approach to learning designed for student success, links two or more classes with a common theme, content, and materials, and is a group of students and faculty working collaboratively in a friendly, supportive atmosphere.
A Learning Community cohort consists of “two or more academic courses linked across the curriculum so that the same group of students enrolls in each course.” (Source: Betsy O. Barefoot, About Campus, Jan.-Feb. 2000).
Learning Communities can be offered in different forms:
- Loose Integration: Two or more classes that share a cohort of students (not necessarily all students enrolled). These classes have some degree shared or contextualized assignments.
- Partial Integration: Two or more classes, made up of a single cohort of students (all students are enrolled in both classes). All assignments are shared or contextualized. Each class has its own syllabus.
- Full Integration: Two or more classes, made up of a single cohort of students, in which all assignments are shared. There is one syllabus and the courses are co-taught.
Furthermore, the Learning Communities Steering Committee supports other forms of integration that faculty can choose to develop:
- Integrated Assignments: Two or more classes that meet 1-3 times, during a given semester, and collaborate on an assignment, cross-curriculum.
- Contextualized Courses: A class that is contextualized to content in another discipline, program, of Field of Interest.
Why teach in a Learning Community? Because it can...
- Create connections among disciplines and develop critical thinking skills.
- Provide interaction between students and faculty.
- Serve social as well as academic needs.
- Help faculty interact with peers from other disciplines and improve their own understanding of other fields of study.
- Present to students varied teaching styles and approaches.
- Increase student retention and progress toward degree completion.
What students say:
“The fact that both classes related to each other helped keep me engaged because I could better relate what I learned by applying new found knowledge to both courses. I found the learning community helped me get to know my peers better.”
“I really enjoyed having the classes connected! It helped me connect ideas and concepts learned.”
“Learning communities are very beneficial especially for a student in their first semester.”
If you are interested in developing a learning community, please contact Renee Cornell or David Pegram. Include the following: 1. Classes you are considering for the learning community; 2. Semester in which this new learning community would begin.
To submit a proposal, download the following Learning Community Proposal form: Download Here