The Transformative Power of a Learning Community

Carol Hostetter, Sabrina Williamson, Katharine V. Byers, Pamela J. Huggins

Abstract


Recently, higher education has focused on “learning communities.” This
study examines a process in which students create expectations for their community of learners. The expectations provide the basis for assessment of students and the
program. Across three cohorts, common themes arise. The major themes from students’ expectations of faculty are that faculty should be organized, use a variety of
teaching methods, and provide mentoring. Students primarily want their peers to
participate actively and constructively in class, have academic honesty, and contribute to class in a civil, respectful manner . Study findings indicate that students are
empowered in finding their collective voice and holding each other accountable for
classroom community. Using the transformative power of a learning community to
improve both student classroom behaviors and faculty teaching appears to be a
promising practice.

Keywords


Learning communities; assessment; program improvement

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