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A Crash Course in Learning Communities for the Political Scientist
Unformatted Document Text:  8 The first model is the cohorts in large courses model. A cohort of students is registered in the same sections of two or more courses in this model, but these courses are not reserved exclusively for the cohort. The faculty members who teach the courses may not even be aware that a learning community is in the midst of their classes and generally do not collaborate on any assignments. The learning community may form around an integrative seminar, which exclusively enrolls the cohort of students in order to examine connections across the courses. Freshman Interest Groups (FIGs) and Federated Learning Communities are well-known examples of the cohorts in large courses model. This model is ideal for situations in which class sizes cannot be reduced for budgetary or enrollment reasons. The second model involves paired/linked or clustered classes. Courses are linked, often according to a theme, but not necessarily so. A typical structure involves a link between a skills course, such as English Composition, and a content course, such as American Government. Only learning community students are allowed to enroll in these courses. The faculty then plan the learning community collaboratively, often using common readings and building assignments and exams upon material in both courses. Faculty members may teach their own courses separately or they may participate directly in all courses. This model improves connections across the material as well as the formation of community as compared to the first model. The third model is the team-taught program. This model is sometimes called a coordinated studies program, and involves a much more integrated approach to student learning and faculty team teaching. Students in this learning community take all of their courses together in a semester. The sizes of these courses may vary, with some large group meetings and some smaller discussion sections or seminars with faculty members. Faculty members plan the entire body of courses so that all of the materials and assignments are integrated across a common

Authors: Thies, Cameron.
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8
The first model is the cohorts in large courses model. A cohort of students is registered
in the same sections of two or more courses in this model, but these courses are not reserved
exclusively for the cohort. The faculty members who teach the courses may not even be aware
that a learning community is in the midst of their classes and generally do not collaborate on any
assignments. The learning community may form around an integrative seminar, which
exclusively enrolls the cohort of students in order to examine connections across the courses.
Freshman Interest Groups (FIGs) and Federated Learning Communities are well-known
examples of the cohorts in large courses model. This model is ideal for situations in which class
sizes cannot be reduced for budgetary or enrollment reasons.
The second model involves paired/linked or clustered classes. Courses are linked, often
according to a theme, but not necessarily so. A typical structure involves a link between a skills
course, such as English Composition, and a content course, such as American Government.
Only learning community students are allowed to enroll in these courses. The faculty then plan
the learning community collaboratively, often using common readings and building assignments
and exams upon material in both courses. Faculty members may teach their own courses
separately or they may participate directly in all courses. This model improves connections
across the material as well as the formation of community as compared to the first model.
The third model is the team-taught program. This model is sometimes called a
coordinated studies program, and involves a much more integrated approach to student learning
and faculty team teaching. Students in this learning community take all of their courses together
in a semester. The sizes of these courses may vary, with some large group meetings and some
smaller discussion sections or seminars with faculty members. Faculty members plan the entire
body of courses so that all of the materials and assignments are integrated across a common


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