How do learning communities work?
When faculty who teach in a learning community, their courses are "linked" to one or more other courses. This means that instructors in a learning community share a cohort of about 25 students. Instructors collaborate to connect their courses through a common theme around a common issue. In addition, they choose course materials and develop activities and assignments designed to encourage integrative learning, which has been identified as an essential student learning outcome. So, for example, in a learning community that links Biology with Psychology, a common theme might be “health” and students might integrate what the learn in both courses to explore an issue such as diabetes that has both biological and psychological implications. This way, students can connect and apply what they learn.
Students in learning communities also get additional support as the learning communities program has its own counselors, advisers, and other support services.
Who should teach in a learning community?
Faculty who are interested in fostering integrative thinking and in collaborating with colleagues across disciplines.
How do I get involved in learning communities?
If you are interested in teaching in a learning community, please first check with you chairperson. If he or she agrees, please contact Janine Graziano (firstname.lastname@example.org).
What is expected from me if I teach in a learning community?
Instructors interested in participating in Kingsborough Learning Communities attend a new faculty workshop the semester before they begin. They then spend the following module (Winter or Summer) collaborating with other members of their team--identifying shared student learning outcomes and themes, synchronizing course topics to maximize connections, and designing shared integrative assignments. (Please click here to see some sample faculty collaborations).
Kingsborough believes in a sustained model of professional development; there is a kick-off and closing meeting each semester and faculty are asked to meet regularly during the semester to keep courses tightly integrated and to be sure students are making progress. Attendance at program meetings and regular team meetings are part of the commitment teams make to learning communities, and faculty are compensated for this collaborative work.
Professional development is coordinated by Profs. Janine Graziano and Gabrielle Kahn.
Prof. Janine Graziano
Prof. Gabrielle Kahn