Faculty Guide for Interdisciplinary Learning Communities
Interdisciplinary learning communities are created when two or three courses are offered together for the same cohort of students by faculty who design and/or team teach the connected classes. Learning communities restructure the curriculum to increase both the intellectual and social interactions for students and faculty, students and peers, and faculty and colleagues.
The information in this guide should provide you with some basic considerations for beginning learning community (LC) work. However, successful LCs result from the creativity of individual faculty teams and student participants. The guidelines presented herein are meant to convey the minimal expectations that learning community practitioners have found meaningful during years of practice.
Student Outcomes for Learning Communities at De Anza
After participating in an interdisciplinary learning community, students should be better able to:
Essential Characteristics of Learning Communities
Planning Checklist for Faculty Teams
Some alternative pedagogies have been chosen, such as:
Instructor meetings are planned:
Visitations from student services counselors (3 recommended, 1 the first or second week) are planned for the quarter.
Assessment is planned:
Interdisciplinary: An approach to the curriculum that connects areas of specialization or disciplines in order to reflect on a problem, develop thematic inquiry, or demonstrate the interconnections between fields of study.
Problem Based Learning: A teaching pedagogy that focuses on central questions and problems. Carefully designed problems demand the use of critical thinking, group participation, and self-directed learning strategies for their solutions.
Collaborative Learning: A pedagogical approach in which structured learning activities dependent on group deliberations are created. The approach attempts to transfer power to the learner, promote group problem solving, and improve the social skills of participants.
Experiential /Active Learning: Any approach that facilitates student learning through active participation, such as engagement in problem solving groups, participation in the creative arts, field trips, or lab experimentation.
Service Learning: An experiential learning method in which students assist (usually non-profit) agencies as volunteers. Theory and practice are thus joined to facilitate learning. Valuable organizations profit through the work of motivated volunteers, and authentic examples enable the faculty to make curriculum meaningful.
SGIF: Small Group Instructional Feedback is an assessment tool. An external consultant, such as the Staff and Organizational Development Director, facilitates an open discussion during which students assess the strengths of the class and suggest improvements.
CATS: Classroom Assessment Techniques are a group of quick, easily implemented assessment strategies used by faculty members at various points in the progression of a course to determine the successes and problems of a learning experience.
Team Teaching: A classroom approach in which more than one member of the faculty is responsible for the learning. Generally, "team" teaching implies that all members of the team are simultaneously present in the classroom, although responsibilities will shift between members during the course of the class.
Learning in Communities
Contact: Matt Abrahams