Harper College

Learning Communities FAQs

Learning Communities often emphasize integration of the curriculum and co-curriculum and prioritize community-building among faculty, staff, and a cohort of students.  Implementation may come in different forms, but one form can incorporate a curricular structure characterized by a cohort of students participating in an intentionally designed integrative study of an issue or theme through connected courses, curriculum, experiences, and resources.  (National Learning Communities Association nlcassociation.org)  At Harper, this is the framework around which our learning community courses are designed.  A common group of students are enrolled in the same classes where students and faculty will build connections focused on a central theme.

Harper offers two different types of learning communities, Themed and Launch.  Themed learning communities combine any courses and have a variety of themes.  Launch learning communities include a First Year Seminar (FYS 101) course along with another course students typically enroll in during their first semester at Harper.  In both types of learning communities a cohort of students will enroll in the same courses and faculty and students will build connections between the disciplines.

Students receive separate credit and separate grades for both classes in the Learning Community. If you take a three credit-hour ENG 101 linked with a three-credit hour PSY 101, you receive six hours of credit. Your classes will be listed separately on your transcript.

In a learning community students and faculty work together to discover connections between disciplines.  Students are more engaged and able to build relationships with faculty and peers.  Learning communities provide a support network where students are able to build confidence and increase success.

Students consistently report that they value the chance to get to know their teachers better, to make new friends, and to benefit from a variety of teaching styles. Feedback from students shows both instructors work together to help students achieve their goals and the linked classes are an excellent way to incorporate different ideas and viewpoints.  Students have also shared learning communities create beneficial ways for students to learn and understand courses that have connections in a welcoming environment.

Students frequently register for Learning Communities courses on recommendations from peers and advisors  or sometimes because of a specific theme. Students enjoy the convenient scheduling of courses that the Learning Communities Program provides. Many Learning Communities offerings allow students to register for two classes that fulfill General Education requirements.

Yes, creating joint projects is an integral part of the Learning Communities experience for faculty and students.  These joint projects often will count towards your grade in both learning community classes.

In many learning communities both teachers will participate in both classes on various levels. Some classes are linked but not fully coordinated. In that case, the classes are not team-taught, but they are connected through topics and integrated by faculty.

For step-by-step instructions, see the Register page.

No, any course that is designated as IAI keeps that distinction in any type of Learning Community. Student transcripts list the courses separately and do not indicate that the course were taken as Learning Communities. (This for some reason is in a different font so we’ll need to adjust to be consistent).


Last Updated: 4/8/24