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Creating Environments that Retain, Engage and Transform Learners LEARNING COMMUNITIES

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Post on 13-Jan-2016




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Creating Environments that Retain, Engage and Transform Learners. LEARNING COMMUNITIES. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


* Jane Lister Reis, Communications Faculty * Haley Gronbeck, teaching assistant and tutor * Cam Basden, teaching assistant and adult learner * Chris McRae, adult learner * Carol Hamilton, Faculty Emeritus, English
North Seattle Community College Presenters:
Supportive, Emergent, Co-Constructive & Based on Adult Learning Theory (Knowles) * Adults are practical, autonomous and self-directed. * Adults have accumulated a foundation of life experiences and knowledge that may include work-related activities, family responsibilities, and previous education. * Adults are goal-oriented and relevancy-oriented. * As do all learners, adults need to be shown respect.
Foundations of our Learning Community Design:
Conner, M. L. "How Adults Learn." Ageless Learner, 1997-2007. 
Carol Jane
* Requirement of AA degree since 1990s - General Education Outcome: Integrated Learning * Research on student learning and retention in college and cohort community * Integrated Studies Committee led by a faculty member - Faculty Development Connections/Collaboration/Cohesion
LEARNING COMMUNITIES: A 20+ Year History at Our College
For Student Learning & Retention:
* Students find connections across disciplines
* Learn to communicate in seminars through writing & discussion/ Ask “so what” in speaking and writing
*Cohorts form, integrative assignments challenge, diversity explored through texts and purpose
* Look at a public and relevant issue for their ongoing lives
“Beginnings: Sustaining Our Identity and Culture in a Multicultural Society” * An interdisciplinary 10-credit, 11-week evening course * Fall 2010 combining Freshman English Comp (ENGL 101- 102) * American Literature and Society (ENGL 265), * Small Group Communication  (CMST&230) * Intercultural Communication  (HUM105)
Theme/details for our course:
Components of this Class:
All assignments can be found on the course website
Major components that make up a “usual” class and course design.
Understanding and Constructing the Classroom as Container
Designing the elements of the course to help students experience the different levels of a container:
Politeness - Shared Monologues
Reflective Dialogue – Inquiry & Analysis
Generative Dialogue – Making Meaning Together
Container Concept as four quadrants from William Isaacs. Dialogue and The Art of Thinking Together, 1999.
Our Educational Paths and How Learning Communities Changed our Learning and Our Lives
Introducing the Adult Learners & Teaching Assistants
Haley, Cam, and Chris
Cam’s Narrative
My experience as both a student and T.A. in Coordinated Studies: its impact on my life both scholastically and privately.
Positive and negative experiences in online and hybrid classes; lack of personal connections and importance of human to human dialogue.
Communication and its importance inside and outside of the classroom.
A Community That Cares
Establish awareness with students on the 1st day of class --this is not a normal class --you will be talking about deep issues revolving around identity, belonging, and community.
Create a sense of openness: student to student, teacher to student, and student to teacher all required for success and enjoyability.
Invite stories: All class members have a story, one that shapes our identity and our relationships with one another.
Discover empathy: it exists in all of us, but requires practice.
Recognize the class as a living system: it requires nurturing and attention in order for optimal learning to take place.
In a community of care students move from separateness into a shared experience
Intersections between Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (SoTL) and my experience as a T.A.
My experience at The Evergreen State College: community-based, seminar-style learning with narrative evaluations
Practical applications of alternative learning
Haley’s Narrative
Importance of narrative in the classroom to create a comfortable learning environment.
Creating a space where stories come forward.
Releasing your voice in the classroom: creating a space for student and teacher connection.
Using personal histories to challenge and deconstruct dangerous ideas.
Developing community and intellectual intimacy by understanding ourselves, our history, and the stories. around us.
Diverse Learners: Exploring Personal Narrative and Social Awareness
Exploring personal narrative and social awareness creates a space for reflective dialogue
Completing a project that addresses community stimulates
scholarship and connection by performing the following
* Exercises analytical and critical thinking skills
* Creates safe learning environment
* Empowers learners to take leadership and ownership
* Fosters teambuilding skills
Developing connections with each other and to the college that extend beyond the classroom.  They build networks and support groups that can be used in future. 
Providing a quantifiable and visible service to the community which gives the school value to the public and gives learners a sense of ownership to the school and their work.
Relevant engagement creates opportunity for the discovery of new knowledge and meaning through generative dialogue
Questions for Haley, Cam and Chris?
Assessment of learning communities:  * Learning communities strengthen student retention and academic achievement * Transformative for both students and faculty * Research shows an integration of General Education outcomes makes sense to undergraduate students & returning older college students * New designs focusing on reforming pre-college Math and English curriculum (Gates Foundation grants and Washington Center projects)
Learning Communities: Build on Past Successes and Move to Future Reforms
Faculty Development: *Faculty at North have benefitted from Washington Center for Improving the Quality of Undergraduate Education at Evergreen State College (alternative curriculum reform for 30 years) *Faculty learning community (teams of 2-3 faculty create a course together)to purposefully integrate “disciplinary” outcomes * Workshops, conferences, mentoring, faculty exchanges and teams
Learning Communities: Renewing Faculty Energy & Creativity
Course Website and Class Blog Key Handouts & Assignments (on course website ): “So Do You Mean?” (Virginia Satir) “What’s in a Seminar” (Jim Harnish, faculty emeritus, NSCC) Seminar Video “Seminar: A Skill Everyone Can Learn" Seminar Preps (supports careful reading & critical thinking) Personal Narrative Assignment & Essay (creates value and respect) Cultural Interviews Assignment (listening, empathy & privilege exercises) Final Integrated Assignment (meeting a community need as a small group) Annotated Bibliography for Learning Communities (on blog ) 20 Tips for Creating a Transformative Learning Community(on blog )
Thank you for this opportunity to share our learning experience with you!
Jane Lister Reis [email protected] Haley Gronbeck [email protected] Cam Basden [email protected] Chris McRae [email protected] Carol Hamilton [email protected]