What Are Learning Communities?
Learning Communities ("LCs") intentionally combine courses to explore connections between areas of study and to foster deeper, more meaningful learning relationships among faculty and students. For example, a math course might be combined with a reading course to show how the skills and knowledge used in the study of one subject help to understand the other. An Earth Science course might be combined with an Ethnic Studies course to explore the relationships between the geology of a particular place and the people who have inhabited that place over time.
While there are many different kinds of Learning Communities offered by over 500 colleges and universities in the US and Canada, at Skagit Valley College, when students enroll in a learning community, they register for each of the paired courses (called "co-enrollment"), which usually (not always) have been scheduled to meet for a single block of time. Assignments and classroom activities are designed to reinforce the learning in each course and to help students understand how the concepts and skills of the two subject areas are connected. Often, students will complete assignments that receive credit in both classes. For the most part, being in a Learning Community is like taking a single, "expanded" course.
What Are Integrative Experiences (IEs)?
Integrative Experiences (IEs) are curricular (course) or co-curricular experiences designed by faculty in which students demonstrate their ability to integrate information, concepts, analytical frameworks, and/or skills from two or more areas of inquiry in a purposeful project or experience. (See also Learning Into Action for information about how some LIA projects can be proposed as Integrative Experiences.)