Learning Communities: Creating Connections Among Students, Faculty, and Disciplines.Learning Communities: Creating Connections Among Students, Faculty, and Disciplines. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, #41. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
In this early comprehensive look at learning communities, the authors draw from the foundational work of Dewey, Meiklejohn, and Tussman and present five basic models of learning communities: linked courses, learning clusters, freshman interest groups, federated learning communities, and coordinated studies. Learning communities are defined as “any one of a variety of curricular structures that link together several existing courses, or restructure the curricular material entirely, so that students have opportunities for deeper understanding and integration of the material they are learning, and more interaction with one another and their teachers as fellow participants in the learning process.” They assert that students should experience a learning community at least once and early in their college career, and that membership in at least one such supportive community may be enough to ensure a student’s persistence. They offer a practical checklist for issues of implementation and sustainability, and address strategies and difficulties related to teaching in learning communities through collaborative design and planning. Two chapters of the book address student and faculty experiences and responses to learning communities, and the final chapter looks ahead to the future of learning communities and curricular reform. There is also a section of resources provided.