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CNM to Offer Learning Community Courses Again this Fall

July 12, 2013 -- This fall Central New Mexico Community College will once again offer learning community courses where students enroll in two or more classes together to create a “community” of learners. Instructors team up to teach these paired courses and to provide students the support and attention needed at all levels of study and in many different departments.

“These types of classes are not for everyone, but for some they are very beneficial. Students work as a team and everyone supports one another,” said Andrew Tibble, who is coordinating the learning community program for the School of Adult and General Education (SAGE)

Universities and colleges around the country are often drawn to learning communities because research has shown that they improve retention rates and help students succeed at higher rates than stand-alone courses.  At CNM, which has offered this program for more than 10 years, students can fulfill degree and certificate requirements while discovering the benefits of learning together with instructors who are invested in creating exciting and supportive communities.

Tibble said that to make the learning community concept work best, classes should be scheduled back to back – preferably in the same classroom – and, ideally, instructors should stay for both classes to maintain continuity.

The camaraderie of co-enrollment may help some students stay in school longer, but learning communities offer more: consistent curriculum between courses, high-quality learning and collaborative learning. In the learning community model lines are blurred between individual courses.  Learning communities function as a single giant course that the students and faculty members work on for a full term.

This fall CNM will be offering learning communities in several areas, including biology and College Success Experience (CSE), EMS courses, English and CSE, English and Math, many math classes and more.

“One of the more popular learning community courses is the pairing of psychology and reading. This gives students the opportunity to apply the critical thinking skills they are learning in the reading class to their psychology class. Students enrolled in this learning community are more likely to succeed in both classes and receive higher grades,” Tibble said.

CNM students should register for learning community courses the same way they do for a regular stand-alone class. They must be sure to register for both sections of the learning communities courses. Students wishing to drop the courses must drop both at the same time.

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