What is a Learning Community?
Essentially, learning communities (or blocks) are clusters of courses taken by the same groups of students. This structure allows students to develop peer support networks that aide in promoting social learning experience and overall academic success.
The learning community structure also allows for a multitude of components to work together to provide students with a supportive academic environment. Since faculty within each block are teaching the same group of students, this provides faculty with the opportunity to collaborate with each other to integrate their course materials and assignments, and to discuss student progress. Examples of this faculty collaboration are limitless, as each block produces a unique, thematic, and coherent interdisciplinary integration plan that enriches students’ first-year learning experience. Students interested in Nursing, PreMed/PreHealth, STEM, Business Administration, Accounting, and Education, can participate in specialized blocks that focus on these fields of study.
Studies have shown that learning communities have a powerful effect on student persistence and success. When students are allowed to experience the fusion of their academic and social worlds, they benefit from a more textured and meaningful learning experience (Tinto, 1994).