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Learning Communities

What Are Learning Communities?

Learning Communities are groups of 6-25 students taking the same set of two to six courses. The courses are chosen to encourage students and instructors to find interesting connections between different subjects and ideas. Some course instructors work together to focus their courses around a common theme or problem; others may assign shared course readings or other assignments such as projects, speeches, essays, or presentations. Learning Communities help students develop stronger and more meaningful connections with their instructors and with their fellow students, both in and out of class.

What types of learning communities are offered at SUNY Potsdam?

First-Year Interest Groups (FIGs): FIGs are SUNY Potsdam Learning Communities especially designed for first year students! Many FIGs include courses designed to accelerate students' transition to SUNY Potsdam and guide them to success. FIG course clusters often include FY 100, First Year Success Seminar, as well as General Education Foundations courses in writing, speaking, Math, and critical thinking.

Our "Exploring" FIGs include academic courses clustered with FY 215, Major & Career Exploration.These clusters are designed to encourage Undeclared/Exploratory students to work together intensively to learn more about themselves and their major and career interests.

In our "Residential" FIGs, students participate in living-learning communities?they live together on the same floor as well as take courses together.

Upper Division Pairs and Clusters: Learning Community Pairs are two courses from different disciplines; Clusters are more than two courses. They function like FIGs except they may be aimed at sophomores or upper-division students. More often than FIGs, upper-division Learning Communities may be designed for students working within the same major, minor, certificate, or program.

What Can Learning Communities Offer Students?

Research nationwide shows that Learning Communities

  • Intensify cooperation by creating a "community of scholars"
  • Foster improved communication among faculty and students
  • Promote students' confidence in their academic potential
  • Encourage students to transfer skills from one course to another
  • Allow students to make more meaningful connections between courses
  • Increase students' participation and attendance in class
  • Serve well both the very bright and those having difficulty