|News from Montgomery College
900 Hungerford Drive, Suite 200, Rockville, MD 20850
For Immediate Release (02-13)
For the past year, MC-Takoma Park has been experimenting with learning communities, initiatives that enroll groups of students in pairs or clusters of classes, which often are organized around interdisciplinary themes. Eighty to 100 Takoma Park students are currently involved in the cutting-edge program.
One of those, freshman Chen Ding of McLean, Virginia, says she is taking her second semester of learning community study. "The community part of the formula is a main strength," says Ding. "Students get to know each other and support each other more than in regular classes. It has helped me to learn more and that is what were here for."
Dr. Clarence A. Porter, Montgomery College vice president and Takoma Park provost, says the campus is developing a Learning Communities Pilot Program comprising more new strategies to enhance learning. Dr. Porter and a six-person team from the Takoma Park campus were selected for the top 20 through a competitive application process to participate in a residential learning communities institute at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, this June.
At the five-day institute, funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, the educators will develop ways to build or strengthen their learning community initiatives on campus.
Hundreds of undergraduate campuses have created curricular learning communities, approaches that purposely restructure the curriculum to thematically link courses and enroll a common group of students.
According to the website http://learningcommons.evergreen.edu, empirical studies have shown that Learning Communities:
The website reports the communities are especially effective in developmental courses.
Dr. Porter says he is excited about the learning communities concept, as well as this summers institute. "Our expectations are that we will be able to increase retention and academically improve students," he says. "Clearly, this is a direction in which to go."
Takoma Park is one of three primary Montgomery College campuses. It serves more than 4,000 of the colleges population of 20,000 plus students in credit programs.
The smallest of the three campuses, it is about to embark on a major expansion.
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