Presentation on theme: "The Advent of a Learning Community Dr. Mike Bossick, Sociology Instructor Ms. Elizabeth West, English Instructor Central Piedmont Community College, Charlotte."— Presentation transcript:
The Advent of a Learning Community Dr. Mike Bossick, Sociology Instructor Ms. Elizabeth West, English Instructor Central Piedmont Community College, Charlotte NC
The Beginning… Wanted to connect with fellow faculty members as a teacher/scholar Inherent issues at a commuter college with creating communities and student engagement Met Dr. Bossick and wanted to embark on a collaborative assignment with the students in his SOC 210 course. In Spring 2012, we assigned a collaborative comparison and contrast essay in our ENG 111 and SOC 210 classes.
The Collaboration… Our goal was to create a sense of community between ENG 111 and SOC 210 students Initial meeting of our courses to outline the assignment Students self-segregated, so we chose groups to combine the classes Students exchanged contact information and had good initial group meetings We were on our way!
Good Start, Complicating Issues Students did not know each other- two separate courses Meet-ups were difficult as most of the work needed to be done outside of class Even though class time was allotted in class, combining the groups again was not possible Co-grading issue- some students did not like grades to be done by instructor other than their instructor of record
The Advent of a Learning Community… Needed linked classes to share a group of students between Mike and me Collaboration would come naturally because students would know each other and have the ability to work together in class Luckily, at Central Piedmont Community College there is a department dedicated to help create and support learning communities. We filled out the paperwork and the “Policy and Paragraphs” learning community was established in May 2012
Learning Community: Take 1 Only a handful of students were enrolled shortly before the semester Was the problem: Advertising? Technical? Scheduling?
Learning Community: Take 2 We took control of the marketing for our learning community We adjusted the time the courses met We watched registration numbers to check for technical issues
Assignments The sociology course provided the topics, while the English course provided opportunities to analyze these topics at length Process Analysis Essay: Students were asked to analyze the process of acquiring social norms in their family, at school or at work Comparison-Contrast Essay: Students were asked to write a comparison and contrast analysis based on social deviance: geographical (north vs. south), generational (grandparents vs. your generation) or cultural (U.S. social norms vs. another country or culture)
Methodology 18 students completed our anonymous qualitative survey (see handout) on 3/18/13. Students started the survey in ENG 111 and finished it in SOC 210 Questions focused mostly on how the learning experience and sense of community in the Policy and Paragraphs learning community compared to experiences in other courses
Midterm Feedback (+) Considering your experiences in other courses, how has being part of the ENG 111/SOC 210 Policy and Paragraphs learning community affected your… Sense of Community “It seems almost like a group of friends that have classes together, rather than a random group of people thrown together in a room” “I really like being part of this learning community because we are all friends. Having two classes with the same people really makes us closer and more comfortable with one another. It is better than other classes because I don’t even know some of my classmates in other classes”
Midterm Feedback (+) Considering your experiences in other courses, how has being part of the ENG 111/SOC 210 Policy and Paragraphs learning community affected your… Learning Experience in the Classroom “It makes both classes more comfortable, personalized, and even entertaining because you come to get to know more if not most of your fellow classmates. I find myself participating in these 2 classes more than any class I take at CPCC” “The ENG 111/SOC 210 Policy has affected my learning experience in the classroom in a positive way. It has helped me feel more comfortable with other students and we get a greater understanding of things when we aren’t afraid to ask/say what we want within the classroom. Most of the time, shyness and not really knowing others well holds students back from asking certain questions or keeping an open mind”
Midterm Feedback (+) Please include an additional comments about the learning community you would like to share. “I think there should be more opportunities to sign up for these classes, other than that no comments needed besides it’s a great program!” “In the learning community you really come together as a class, where in other classes you still don’t know someone’s name at the end of the semester. It creates a very friendly environment and makes learning more fun”
Midterm Feedback (-) Would you recommend this learning community to other students? Why or why not? “I would not recommend the learning community to other students. It has not affected my learning experience and I am tired of the people within the community” Please include an additional comments about the learning community you would like to share. “The learning community might work well for others, but it is not for me. I feel like I am at a higher level of learning and my classmates are weighing me down” “I think they are both great teachers and I learn a lot I just don’t see how the two classes connect”
Lessons Learned Be persistent when starting a learning community Learning communities create a supportive environment for students and faculty alike Not everyone will embrace the interactive environment in a learning community