ERIC Number: ED358778
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993
Reference Count: N/A
Freshman Interest Groups and the First Year Experience: Constructing Student Communities in a Large University.
Tinto, Vincent; Goodsell, Anne
A qualitative case study of Freshman Interest Groups (FIGs) (in which freshmen enroll in specific thematically linked courses their first semester) was carried out at a large, public, research university. The intent of the study was to understand how participation in a FIG influenced students' learning experiences, and how those experiences fit in with their broader experiences as first year students. The study consisted of three 1-week site visits involving observation in 12 classrooms, 43 interviews with 24 students, and 5 interviews with the FIG coordinator. Study results showed that FIGs allowed students to interact repeatedly with a consistent set of peers across their classes. This, in turn, enabled students to form a social network in which other academic support mechanisms could begin to operate. In addition, Writing Link classes enabled students to balance engagement with course content with the development of social relationships. FIGs are seen as potentially powerful ways of affecting students' first year college experience. Contains 11 references. (GLR)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: National Center on Postsecondary Teaching, Learning, and Assessment, University Park, PA.