Research indicates that of the pedagogies recognized as “high impact”, learning communities – one approach to which, the linked course, is the subject of this book – lead to an increased level of student engagement in the freshman year that persists through the senior year, and improve retention. This book focuses on the learning community model that is the most flexible to implement in terms of scheduling, teacher collaboration, and design: the linked course. The faculty may teach independently or together, coordinating syllabi and assignments so that the classes complement each other, and often these courses are linked around a particular interdisciplinary theme. Creating a cohort that works together for two paired courses motivates students, while the course structure promotes integrative learning as students make connections between disciplines.This volume covers both “linked courses” in which faculty may work to coordinate syllabi and assignments, but teach most of their courses separately, as well as well as “paired courses” in which two or more courses are team taught in an integrated program in which faculty participate as learners as well as teachers. Part One, Linked Course Pedagogies, includes several case studies of specific linked courses, including a study skills course paired with a worldview course; a community college course that challenges students’ compartmentalized thinking; and a paired course whose outcomes can be directly compared to parallel stand-alone coursesPart Two, Linked Course Programs, includes a description of several institutional programs representing a variety of linked course program models. Each chapter includes information about program implementation, staffing logistics and concerns, curriculum development, pedagogical strategies, and faculty development.Part Three, Assessing Linked Courses, highlights the role of assessment in supporting, maintaining, and improving linked course programs by sharing assessment models and describing how faculty and administrators have used particular assessment practices in order to improve their linked course programs.
Foreword—Betsy Barefoot Introduction. Why the Need for Learning Communities Now? PART ONE. LINKED COURSE PEDAGOGIES 1. Pairing Courses to Benefit Student Learning—Scott E. Gaier 2. Linked Content Courses. A World Civilizations–World Religions Case Study—Jeffrey LaMonica 3. Double Entry. Linking Introductory Financial Accounting and English Composition—Bruce A. Leauby and Mary C. Robertson 4. Multiple Majors, One Writing Class. Discovering Commonalities Through Problematization—Irene Clark PART TWO. LINKED COURSE PROGRAMS 5. The Science of First-Year Learning Communities—Brandi Kutil and Rita Sperry 6. Implementing a Linked Course Requirement in the Core Curriculum—Margot Soven 7. Academic Partnerships with Residential Learning Communities—Maggie C. Parker and Alex Kappus 8. Learning Communities in the New University—Siskanna Naynaha and Wendy Olson PART THREE. ASSESSING LINKED COURSES 9. The Nuts and Bolts of Evaluating Linked Courses—Michael Roszkowski 10. Using Program Assessments and Faculty Development to Deepen Student Learning—Lynn Dunlap and Maureen Pettitt 11. Linked Course Assessment. The Problem With Quantitative Data—Bethany Blankenship 12. Constant Reconnaissance. Assessment for Validation and Change—Greg Smith and Geoffrey Mamerow Editors and Contributors Index
"In one sense this book is most relevant for faculty at institutions which offer linked courses or are contemplating such programs. However, other readers may find these examples useful as illustrations of ways to make individual courses more interdisciplinary as well or develop team-taught courses or collaborations with other departments. Several of the chapters offer extensive references to further studies and general research in the filed which will also be useful to many readers."
Teaching Theology and Religion
"Learning communities are robust curricular approaches for fostering engaged learning. Through connections between courses, partnerships among campus educators, and integration across the curriculum, linked courses represent the kind of learning experiences that benefit all students. Yet, to maximize their educational impact, it is necessary to be intentional about their structure and build meaningful connections. Soven and her colleagues present powerful illustrations and instructive case studies of effective pedagogy, programs and assessment approaches, and address the organizational structure challenges that can make learning communities more effective, sustainable, and widespread."
Jillian Kinzie, Associate Director, Center for Postsecondary Research, Indiana University, Bloomington
“The subtitle of this book is ‘A Guide for Faculty and Administrators,’ and it more than lives up to the promise of guidance. The introduction gives the rationale for learning communities and discusses linked courses as the most popular model, while various essays focus on the pedagogies involved and on the design and implementation of specific linked courses. But although all the essays are valuable, the most important contribution of the book, I believe, is the section on assessment. The book is a splendid resource.”
Susan McLeod, Research Professor of Writing, UC Santa Barbara Writing Program
“While experiments in massified, corporatized, depersonalized college education may grab headlines, this book shows that the real ‘bottom line’ for students is the intellectual and social value of the learning experience. With essays from a mix of public and private colleges of different sizes and missions, Linked Courses shows college administrators and teachers across disciplines a versatile, workable—and assessment-sensitive—model for making the most of college. The collaborating teachers and students in these authentic learning communities present a blend of new and time-tested strategies that together provide an inspiring response to the call for higher education reform."
Christopher Thaiss, Clark Kerr Presidential Chair, UC Davis; Coordinator, International Network of Writing-across-the-Curriculum Programs
“This work joins a growing literature on learning communities but provides what many of them do not: a set of specific examples of best practice written by educators who are on the front lines of this innovation today.
In their descriptions of learning community differences, the authors make one thing clear: In order for learning communities to have maximum impact on learning, faculty should collaborate and find ways to link course content.
I am pleased to offer this foreword to a book that will help educators adopt and adapt the learning community model to their campus. I believe that this innovation is among the most powerful we have at our disposal. Read, learn, and enjoy!”
Betsy Barefoot, Vice President & Senior Scholar, Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education
“This book provides a unique contribution to the learning community literature by focusing exclusively on linked courses—a learning-community format that has the most realistic potential for promoting bona fide integrative learning—in contrast to creating merely a cohort of students via ‘block scheduling’. Among the book’s other distinctive features are discussion of linked courses that span diverse disciplines and diverse campus settings (2-year, 4-year, residential and commuter), as well as its comprehensive coverage of key issues that underlie or undermine creation of successful learning communities, such as faculty motivation, faculty development, program administration, and program assessment. This book is a must read for anyone interested in creating learning communities that fulfill their promise of promoting meaningful, integrated learning, and a coherent general education experience.”
Joseph B. Cuseo, professor emeritus of psychology at Marymount College and member of the editorial board to the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition