The following post was written by John Pell, an Assistant Professor and Librarian at Hunter College, and a 2014-2015 Assessment Fellow.
A project conceived by the Hunter College 2014-2015 Assessment Fellows made an appearance at the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Assessment in Action poster session at the annual meeting of the American Library Association this summer. The Hunter project was an effort to activate Hunter’s learning communities by fostering deeper collaboration between faculty in the library and in the first-year writing program.
Learning communities at Hunter College use special schedules that allow students to take the same classes together. As scheduling arrangements alone, learning communities may not have much effect. However, when faculty collaborate across courses in the learning community to develop assignments and class activities that encourage students to recall and apply content from other courses, learning communities can help improve student learning as well as college graduation and retention rates.
Hunter’s first-year writing and library faculty already work together closely, but the assessment project furthered the relationship by placing a first-year writing course and a library research course together in the same learning community. The Assessment Fellows are still studying how arranging the library course in the same community with first-year writing may have impacted student learning and development, but one thing they know right now is that the arrangement was well received by the students. An overwhelming majority of students agreed that taking the library course at the same time as the first-year writing course effectively and appropriately supported their coursework.
The Assessment Fellows plan to continue exploring the relationships between courses in Hunter’s learning communities – particularly first-year writing and the library research course. Are there things you would like to know about or see happen in Hunter’s learning communities? Get in touch and let us know!