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Resources

Selected resources on learning communities are listed and annotated on this webpage. For a complete list of resources, go to Resources on the menu at the top of the page.

National Resources

Summer Institute
The National Summer Institute on Learning Communities provides focused time for campus teams to develop action plans for launching, strengthening, or retooling learning community programs.

Regional Networks
These networks and consortiums offer opportunities to connect with peers at nearby institutions as well as cost-effective professional development opportunities at regional retreats.

Integrative Learning Library
This library of integrative assignments from faculty teams at two- and four-year institutions across the country provides a wealth of ideas.

LEARNCOM Listserve
Send questions about learning community practice or startup to this community of over 700 learning communities practitioners from across the country.

Learning Communities Directory
Find learning community programs and contact people at institutions throughout the United Stateslinks to learning community program websites are included.

LC Research and Practice e-journal
This peer-reviewed quarterly e-journal includes articles, book reviews, and field notes on all aspects of learning community theory and practice. The first issue will be released in winter 2013.

Articles and Papers

High-Impact Practices: Applying the Learning Outcomes Literature to the Development of Successful Campus Programs
Jayne E. Brownell and Lynn E. Swaner. Peer Review. Spring 2009.
Learning communities were identified as a high-impact practice by the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) report, College Learning for the New Global Century. In this article, Brownell and Swaner review the outcomes literature for learning communities as well as three other high-impact practices.

When Faculty Assess Integrative Learning
Emily Lardner and Gillies Malnarich. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning. Sept./Oct. 2009.
This article, published in Change magazine, details what faculty from 20 institutions learned about assessing work and integrative learning during the Washington Center's National Project on Assessing Learning in Learning Communities.

Special Issue: Assessing Learning in Learning Communities
Emily Lardner and Gillies Malnarich, with others. Journal of Learning Communities Research, 3(3). December 2008/January 2009.
This special edition of the Journal of Learning Communities Research introduces readers to the work undertaken by campus teams involved in Washington Center's national project on Assessing Learning in Learning Communities.

Learning Communities and the Quest for Quality
Barbara L. Smith and Jean MacGregor. Quality Assurance in Education. 17(2). 2009.
Methodology: This article provides an overview of learning community theory and core practices and four original case studies of institutions that have made learning communities a long term focus of their quality improvement efforts.

Sustaining Learning Communities: Moving from Curricular to Educational Reform
Emily Lardner and Gillies Malnarich. Perspectives. Winter 2008.
Published in Perspectives, a publication of the Massachusetts Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, this article describes what is needed to move learning communities from isolated programs that benefit a comparatively small number of students to campus-wide initiatives that are clearly aligned with institutional goals and benefit large numbers of students, including at-risk students.

A New Era in Learning Community Work: Why the Pedagogy of Intentional Integration Matters
Emily Lardner and Gillies Malnarich. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning. July/August 2008. Subscribe
In this article, Lardner and Malnarich describe a significant shift in emphasis in learning community practice over the past decade, from a focus on models and organizational structures to a focus on intentionally designed integrative learning for students.

Learning Communities: Creating Connections Among Students, Faculty, and Disciplines
Faith Gabelnick, Jean MacGregor, Roberta Matthews and Barbara Smith. New Directions for Teaching and Learning. Number 41. Spring 1990.
This landmark paper gave shape to the emerging field of learning community practice at both two- and four-year colleges and universities.

Washington Center Newsletters
These newsletters, from the center's founding in 1986 through 2005, provide a historical record of the development of the center's work in particular and the learning community movement in general, with much information that remains relevant today.

Why Learning Communities? Why Now?
K. Patricia Cross. About Campus. July-August 1998.

This article lays out the case for learning communities, linking it with research on learning outcomes and research on how people learn. 

Learning Communities, Collaborative Learning, and the Pedagogy of Global Citizenship
Vincent Tinto. American Association of Higher Education (AAHE) Bulletin. March 1995.
This article discusses an unexpected research finding—namely that students, by becoming actively involved in their own learning and that of their peers, “learned the disposition of citizenship.”

The Rationale for Learning Communities
Patrick Hill. Speech. October 22, 1985.
This speech, given by Patrick Hill, then Academic Vice President at The Evergreen State College, at the Inaugural Conference on Learning Communities of the Washington Center remains relevant today.

Monographs and Reports

High Impact Educational Practices: What They Are, Who Has Access to Them, and Why They Matter
George D. Kuh. American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). 2008.
In this report, Kuh examines ten practices identified by AAC&U's College Learning for the New Global Century, including learning communities which he defines as high-impact because of the educational benefits they offer.

College Learning for the New Global Century
National Leadership Council for Liberal Education & America's Promise. American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U). 2007.
In this report, integrative learning is highlighted as one of the essential learning outcomes students need to prepare for life and work in the 21st century.

Washington Center Monographs on Learning Communities
The Washington Center has published eleven monographs on different aspects of learning communities. Topics include student affairs, diversity and educational equity, developmental education, research and assessment, service-learning, community colleges, liberal arts colleges, and research universities.

Learning Communities: New Structures, New Partnerships for Learning
Jodi Levine, editor. First Year Experience Monograph Series. 1999.
As Jodi Levine writes in the introduction, this monograph "combines theory with examples of good practice and recommendations for building and sustaining effective learning communities." Topics include designing appropriate learning community models, building partnerships with student affairs, incorporating academic advising, professional development, and assessment.

Building Learning Communities for New College Students: A Summary of Research Findings of the Collaborative Learning Project
Vincent Tinto, Anne Goodsell Love, and Pat Russo. Syracuse, NY: National Center on Postsecondary Teaching, Learning, and Assessment. 1994.

This summary of the findings of the first longitudinal study on learning communities examines the experiences of new college students at two community colleges and one research university. The findings emphasize learning communities as a vehicle for academic and social integration for an emerging majority of students attending public institutions—commuters with substantial family responsibilities who worked and attended college part-time.

Books

Linked Courses for General Education and Integrative Learning: A Guide for Faculty and Administrators
Margot Soven, Dolores Lehr, Siskanna Naynaha, and Wendy Olson, editors. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing. 2013.
This book highlights how practitioners link and pair courses, a frequently used learning community model. Designed to give faculty and administrators the information they need to sustain learning communities in times of fiscal restraint, the book is divided into three sections: linked course pedagogies, linked course programs, and assessing linked courses.

Learning Communities: Reforming Undergraduate Education
Barbara Leigh Smith, Jean MacGregor, Roberta S. Matthews, and Faith Gabelnick. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 2004.
This book provides a comprehensive background on learning communities, including historical context; learning community structures and practices; learning communities as an avenue for reform; and how to initiate, strengthen, and sustain learning communities.

Sustaining and Improving Learning Communities
Jodi Levine Laufgraben and Nancy Shapiro. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 2004.
This book explores how students in learning communities actively participate in their own education, and deepen and diversify their college experience.

Creating Learning Communities: A Practical Guide to Winning Support, Organizing for Change, and Implementing Programs
Jodi Levine and Nancy Shapiro. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 1999.
This guide presents a pragmatic blueprint for creating a learning community that can be adapted to almost any campus culture. It includes everything from information on who should be placed on planning committees to samples of syllabi for interdisciplinary courses, sample course clusters, and lists of expected student outcomes.

The Powerful Potential of Learning Communities: Improving Education for the Future
Oscar Lenning and Larry Ebbers. Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE). 1999.
This book offers an in-depth discussion of several approaches to learning communities.

Websites

Association of American Colleges and Universities
This website has a wealth of information, including publications information about the LEAP (Liberal Education and America's Promise) initiative.

National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience and Students in Transition
This website, hosted by the University of South Carolina, includes all kinds of resources related to students' first-year experience.

National Service-Learning Clearinghouse
This website is a resource for all aspects of service-learning.

Toolkit

Seminars: A Collection of Materials on Seminar Approaches and Evaluation Strategies
Jim Harnish, with K. Ann McCartney and Margaret Scarborough. Olympia, WA: Washington Center. 1995.

The seminar is the heart of many learning communities and the place where students' knowledge construction and integrative learning is most apparent. Practitioners throughout the country continue to use this packet of seminar suggestions and strategies, developed by Jim Harnish and the Washington Center.