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ERIC Number: ED509307
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Mar
Pages: 153
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 32
Scaling up Learning Communities: The Experience of Six Community Colleges
Visher, Mary G.; Schneider, Emily; Wathington, Heather; Collado, Herbert
National Center for Postsecondary Research
The Learning Communities Demonstration is a large-scale, random assignment evaluation of learning community programs at six community colleges. During the first year of the demonstration, all six colleges expanded their learning community programs and, in the process, faced similar challenges in selecting courses to link, recruiting and supporting faculty, filling the learning communities with eligible students, and helping faculty use instructional strategies such as curricular integration to enhance learning. By spring 2009, the colleges operated more than 130 learning communities serving around 3,000 students. This report describes the strategies the colleges used to scale up their programs while working to improve their quality, and the many complex challenges that are likely to be faced by any community college intent on scaling up effective learning communities--including scheduling, faculty engagement with and approach to teaching, and balancing developmental courses with traditional college-level courses. Key findings from the implementation study include: (1) A paid coordinator and committed leaders were essential to managing and scaling up learning communities; (2) As coordinators clarified expectations and offered support, faculty responded by changing their teaching practices; (3) Curricular integration remained difficult to implement widely and deeply; and (4) Student cohorts led to strong relationships among students, creating both personal and academic support networks. Appendices include: (1) Supplementary Tables; (2) Research Methods and Data Sources; and (3) Learning Communities Faculty Survey. (Contains 77 footnotes, 6 tables, 7 figures, and 1 box.)
National Center for Postsecondary Research. Teachers College, Columbia University, Box 174, 525 West 120th Street, New York, NY 10027. Tel: 212-678-3091; Fax: 212-678-3699; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Department of Education (ED)
Authoring Institution: MDRC
Identifiers - Location: California; Florida; Maryland; New York; Texas
IES Funded: Yes
Grant or Contract Numbers: R305A060010