What is a Learning Community?
Learning communities can take a variety of forms, but the idea of an academic learning community is to link or cluster two or more classes for the length of an academic term. Typically, the classes involve common themes, historical periods, issues, or problems within society. The faculty who teach in the learning community integrate the specific content within each of their courses. A small group or cohort of students optimally enroll in all of the classes within the cluster collectively.
Here are some typical types of learning communities:
a. Linked Courses – Courses that share a certain curricular theme or topic (interdisciplinary where appropriate) which integrate skill and content teaching
b. Team-Taught Coordinated Classes - 2 or more classes which focus on a specific theme and are team-taught by the same set of instructors (instructors must meet minimum qualifications in those disciplines)
c. Cohort groups – Selected classes linked together to serve the needs of a particular population (i.e. Veterans, re-entry students, nursing students, science students, freshmen, etc.). These courses may not have curricular links
d. Basic Skills/CTE- creating a link between basic skills content education and/or soft skill-based content and CTE courses
e. Academic Support – i.e. developmental courses linked with a credit level (GE/Transfer) course
f. Student Success (for at-risk students) - creating intention links between developmental courses and Counseling Course/Student Success Course.
The key goals for learning communities are to encourage integration of learning across courses and to involve students with "big questions" that matter beyond the classroom. Student can expect to create lasting bonds with fellow students and with instructors as they participate in the learning community.