Additional Learning Communities Information
This website provides a wealth of resources on learning communities. It contains links to LC programs, projects, publications, and many articles about the practical aspects of design, implementation and assessment. It also has information about an annual summer training program.
1. What are the benefits for your students?
Research says students will:
- Find greater coherence in what they are learning
- Learn more from courses that are integrated
- Begin to understand the relationships between course contents and to apply new concepts and skills
- Build a sense of identity
- Form partnerships with peers, faculty and the college community
Faculty at NCC say:
"Life is an integrated process. Learning communities provide students with this experience for learning college-level subjects… They also develop a social support system, an invaluable tool for their success at NCC."
"Linked courses help students make closer connections among course materials."
"LCs provide students with a supportive and challenging learning environment that will fire their curiosity, enable them to think critically and become bolder about expressing their own opinions on issues."
2. Why should I teach in a learning community?
Research says teaching in a learning community:
- Increases the sharing of teaching ideas among instructors
- Facilitates discussion of scholarly topics across the disciplines
- Broadens pedagogical repertoire of faculty
- Promotes a deeper interaction among faculty and students
Faculty at NCC say:
"Participation in a learning community has provided me with a sense of standards of academic achievement in other disciplines."
"I have met new colleagues and engaged in a different kind of teaching/ learning experience." "The Learning Communities Program contributes to an atmosphere of mutual respect and shared interest in teaching and learning. It promotes a community of scholars and artists in which everyone’s work is valued equally."
3. How are learning communities taught?
There are several learning community models. At NCC, our LCs take the form of linked courses or learning clusters. A cohort of students enrolls in two courses that are paired with a common theme or materials. Faculty work together to design syllabi, joint assignments and projects. “The best learning communities are classrooms where students are connected through meaningful conversations in cooperative groups with each other and their teachers” (Hess & Mason, 2005, p.30). Therefore, strategies for building active learning in the classroom are recommended for linked courses. Some examples include: collaborative and cooperative learning, discussion groups, field trips, problem-based learning, writing and speaking across the curriculum, ongoing reflection and self-evaluation.
Hess, M. & Mason M. (2005). The Case for Learning Communities. Community College Journal, 76 (1), Aug/Sep, 30-35.
4. How can I design a learning community?
After you have selected a compatible partner, choose a theme (materials) that will coordinate both courses and address the specific learning goals for your students. Thus far, our faculty has designed courses for the Liberal Arts, future teachers and for RDG and ESL students. Beginning Fall ’06, linked courses for students in career and vocational programs will be offered.
Some examples from our archives include:
Whose American Dream? – Understanding Self and Society
Psychology and Literature: An Exploration of Human Integrity
Back to the Beginning: Exploring the Origins of Western Art and Thought
Struggles and Achievements: Then and Now
Race, Class, Gender: Rethinking the American Dream
Continuity and Change: Frontiers Then and Now
Learn to Read Your Body
Urban Legends and Social Myths
When Worlds Collide
For more information, including course descriptions and syllabi, contact email@example.com .
5. How can I locate a partner?
Everyone is invited to teach in learning communities.
The LC Steering Committee holds two workshops a year. Each one provides a formal opportunity to learn more about learning communities and meet faculty who are interested in working together. You can ask your department chair or complete the form below and forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org.