Learning Communities

What Are Learning Communities?

Learning communities are groups of 6-24 students taking the same interdisciplinary set of 2-5 courses, the instructors of which often collaborate to integrate their courses around a theme or problem.


What types of learning communities are offered at SUNY Potsdam?

First-Year Interest Groups (FIGs): FIGs are two or more courses of different disciplines shared by a cohort of 10-50 first-year students. FIGs usually are assembled around a common theme; the instructors may or may not coordinate their syllabi to connect their courses around that theme.

Upper Division Pairs and Clusters: Pairs are two courses from different disciplines; clusters are more than two. They function like FIGs except they may be aimed at sophomores or upper-division students.

Coordinated Studies: Coordinated Studies encompass all of a student’s courses in a semester. Typically five or more courses are involved. The instructors coordinate instruction, organize field-trips, invite guest speakers, and share some lectures.


What Can Learning Communities Offer Students?

Research nationwide shows that learning communities

  • Intensify cooperation in a community of scholars
  • Increase communication among faculty and students
  • Promote student confidence in academic potential
  • Facilitate transfer of skills from one course to another
  • Increase participation and attendance in class
  • Serve the very bright and those having difficulty

Who participates in learning communities?

  • All incoming students except Crane Music Students are expected to select a FIG as part of their Fall course schedules.