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ERIC Number: EJ1086839
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0316-1218
Applying a Linked-Course Model to Foster Inquiry and Integration across Large First-Year Courses
Husband, Brian C.; Bettger, William J.; Murrant, Coral L.; Kirby, Kim; Wright, Patricia A.; Newmaster, Steven G.; Dawson, John F.; Gregory, T. Ryan; Mullen, Robert T.; Nejedly, April; van der Merwe, George; Yankulov, Krassimir; Wolf, Peter
Canadian Journal of Higher Education, v45 n4 p244-260 2015
Many first-year university courses are large and content-driven, which can contribute to low student engagement and difficulty involving students in the dynamic, cross-disciplinary nature of inquiry. Learning communities can address these goals, but their implementation often poses logistical challenges, especially in large courses. Here, we apply learning communities using a linked-course model to enhance student engagement and inquiry across three large, first-year biology courses. These three courses (Discovering Biodiversity, Molecular and Cell Biology, and Biological Concepts of Health) offer different contexts for biological inquiry, introduce key biological concepts, and are connected through jointly mapped learning outcomes, shared online skill workshops, and integrative learning communities composed of students from each course. Diverse modes of student learning are used across the three courses, and contemporary problems are explored within classes and small group seminars, which promote the development of skills necessary for inquiry. This course structure requires the coordinated scheduling of seminars and interdisciplinary projects but allows flexibility in the use of lecture periods and online content while offering increased resource efficiency. Collectively, these courses provide opportunities for integration, skill development, and problem solving. In contrast to many other forms of learning communities, this particular model promotes both a disciplinary foundation and cross-disciplinary applications for large numbers of students.
Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education. P.O. Box 34091, RPO Fort Richmond, Winnipeg, MB R3T 5T5, Canada. Tel: 204-474-6404; Fax: 204-474-7561; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A