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Learning Communities

What Are Learning Communities?

In higher education, curricular learning communities are classes that are linked or clustered during an academic term, often around an interdisciplinary theme, and enroll a common cohort of students.

Why Use Learning Communities?

  • Restructures students’ time, credit, and learning experiences;
  • Build community among students, between students and their teachers, and among faculty members and disciplines.

Academic Foundations Student
Three General Types of Learning Communities:

  • Linked Courses/Course Clusters - Two or more classes are linked thematically or by content which a cohort of students takes together.
  • Coordinated Study - Faculty members team-teach a course that is embedded in an integrated program of study.
  • Student Cohorts/Integrative Seminar - Small cohort of students enrolled in a larger class that faculty do not coordinate.


Academic Foundations StudentEffective Learning Communities:

  • Are usually smaller than most other programs/organizations on campus.
  • Have a sense of purpose.
  • Help overcome the isolation of faculty members from one another and from their students.
  • Help build a sense of group identity and cohesion.

Where Learning Communities Are Found:

  • Developmental studies
  • Freshmen/First Year initiatives
  • Strategies for coherence in general education
  • Writing programs: teaching writing in the context of a subject or an interdisciplinary theme
  • Study in a minor (Women’s Studies, Environmental Studies)
  • Study in the major
  • Graduate school programs
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