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Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning (CETL)

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions
»
What is a learning community?
»How can a Learning Community help me succeed in college?
»What are the benefits of participating in a learning community?
»What is INT 110?
»What classes are offered in learning communities?
»Do I need to take every class in the learning community, or can I drop one?
»Are there learning communities available for ALL majors?
»Can I sign up for a learning community in the spring semester?
»How can I sign up for a learning community?
»What happens if I switch my major after signing up for a learning community?
»Do I only take the learning community courses or can I take more courses?

How can a Learning Community help me succeed in college?
The transition from high school to college can be a challenge for most students. Both national and local research has indicated that students who participate in a learning community are more successful in college than those students who do not participate in a learning community.

These students are more likely to work together inside and outside of class, and they do this more often than those who not in learning communities. They are also more likely to form study groups and to interact positively with faculty. Students are not the only ones to benefit; faculty members also work together and develop valuable relationships and knowledge about each other’s teaching techniques and disciplines. All these activities increase the likelihood that students will stay in college, learn more and learn better, and have a more positive transition to university life.

What are the benefits of participating in a learning community?
Knowing your fellow students and professors – You will take three of your classes with the same students. Getting to know your classmates is one of the best ways to get adjusted to college. These three classes are also smaller in size. This gives you an opportunity to get to know your instructors, as well as more time to discuss course topics and ask questions. 

Study Groups – You are more likely to study with your peers, since you share several classes. Studying together gives you a greater chance for success.

Engaged Learning – Within these learning communities, you will have different types of learning experiences. Discussions, debates, group projects, and community involvement are all types of learning in which you will participate. Say goodbye to lecture only classes and hello to engaged learning!

Peer Mentoring – Each learning community will have a peer mentor that can help you transition into student life. This peer mentor will be trained in assisting first-year students with key components that help first-year students succeed. You will be able to ask your peer mentor questions ranging from “How do I best study for this type of class?” to “How do I get tickets for the football game?” Both academic and social community activities will be part of your transition into college, and the peer mentors are there to help ease this transition.

What is a learning community?
A learning community is a block of three courses that a group of students will take together in the fall or spring semester of their first year of college. Many of the classes will count toward a general education requirements or a major requirement. Two classes are established academic courses within a department or college. These two classes are combined with INT (Interdisciplinary) 110, a first-year seminar course that is unique in topic and fosters academic connections to the other courses in the learning community.  There is a common reading within each learning community and some assignments will span across all three courses.

What is INT 110?
INT 110 is the glue course of the learning community. This is a first-year seminar course that fosters connections between the other courses in the learning community using a unique theme. This course will also help students in the transition process from high school to college by connecting students to other students, faculty, staff, and the campus community. This course will communicate and facilitate student understanding of the academic expectations of the university and aim to enhance skills needed of all courses in higher education, such as critical thinking, reading, and writing skills, written and oral communication, collaboration, problem solving, and quantitative and information literacy. Each INT 110 has a unique theme that defines it and connects the courses in its learning community. For a list of themes for fall 2011 and spring 2012, please follow the following link: LEARNING COMMUNITIES

What classes are offered in learning communities?
Each learning community is unique and made up of three linked courses. These linked courses will change each semester, as the themes of the learning communities change. Most courses within a learning community can be applied to general education requirements or major requirements for graduation.  For more information about fall 2011 learning communities, please follow the link below: LEARNING COMMUNITIES

Do I need to take every class in the learning community, or can I drop one?
These courses have been designed to give you the classes that are appropriate for all first-year students, either by major or by general education requirements. Each learning community has developed common readings that will be used across each course in the learning community, as well as assignments that will use certain materials from one course to develop thoughts and ideas in an assignment for another course. Learning communities are structured so that materials, concepts, thoughts, and ideas carry across each course within the Learning Community. Thus, you must register for all courses in the learning community together and drop all of them together. You cannot drop one course in the learning community without dropping all other courses.

Are there learning communities available for ALL majors?
At this time, a handful of learning communities are specific to individual majors. Most of our learning communities are set up so that any student can enroll in one. Your advisor will be able to best assist you in choosing the learning community the fits the major you are planning on pursuing. Don’t have a major yet? There are some learning communities that are specific to those students who are undecided. Advisors will be able to direct you to which learning community will best fit your needs and goals.

Can I sign up for a learning community in the spring semester?
Yes, you can sign up for a learning community in the spring, although there are fewer learning communities that are offered in the spring. This means space is limited! We highly encourage those who are thinking of participating in a learning community to do so in the fall semester.

How can I sign up for a learning community?
You can register for a learning community at New Student Orientation. Talk to your academic advisor or orientation leader for more information.

What happens if I switch my major after signing up for a learning community?
If it is still early in the semester, it might be possible to switch to a different learning community that is better suited for your plan of study. If switching is not an option, courses within the learning community can typically be applied to the general education requirements that each student must fulfill for graduation. 

Do I only take the learning community courses or can I take more courses?
Each learning community is between 8 and 10 credit hours. In order to be considered a full-time student, students must take a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester. You will be able to choose 2-3 additional courses for your schedule. Please check with your advisor prior to registration on which courses you should take along with your learning communities. 

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