When faculty 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 real-world or public issue. In addition, they choose course materials and develop activities and assignments designed to encourage integrative thinking, which has been identified as an essential student learning outcome.
For example, in a learning community that links Biology with Psychology, a common theme might be “health” and students might integrate what they 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.
Instructors in learning communities also get additional support as the learning communities program has its own counselors, advisers, and other support services for students.
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, or if you and a colleague have an idea for a link, please first check with you chairperson(s).
If your chair agrees, please contact Kieren Howard (firstname.lastname@example.org).
What is expected of me if I teach in a learning community?
Learning communities are about collaboration, and learning community teams begin this collaboration by meeting with one of the learning community professional developers to start to identify shared student learning outcomes and themes, synchronize course topics to maximize connections, and design shared integrative assignments. (Please 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. In addition, instructors are asked to assess samples of student work for evidence of integrative thinking, and to post the results of these assessments on a private KCC Learning Communities site on the CUNY Academic Commons.* Faculty are compensated for this collaborative work.
Professional development is coordinated by Profs. Kieren Howard and Tara Thompson.