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