Learning Communities in General Education: Innovation, Interdisciplinarity, Collaboration, and Real-world Applications

From its inception in Fall 2015, Learning Communities (LCs) at Dawson College has aimed to create structured opportunities for Dawson faculty from different departments to work together to co-design and co-teach interdisciplinary courses.

These new curricular structures are designed to facilitate the forging of interdisciplinary insights and connections; permit a closer integration of classroom and experiential learning; investigate complex “wicked problems” and applied solutions; and enhance students’ sense of personal belonging, both within the classroom setting and across the college.

The project so far has supported several different course models that touch on General Education, including:

  • paired courses developed by teachers across all four core Gen Ed departments
  • stand-alone Complementary Contemporary Issues courses that allow for team-teaching opportunities from diverse disciplines, and feature integrated co-curricular activities

Why develop LCs in General Education?

General Education courses are ideally situated to become an important place for LC courses at Dawson. College. Examples already exist of LC paired courses involving collaborations between all four core departments, as well as stand-alone LC Complementary courses.  The diversity of courses and opportunities for new course development within Gen Ed departments opens the door to a myriad of interesting pairings and ideas for courses that build links with campus and community co-curriculars. General Education courses already play an important role in Dawson Certificates and can contribute further through interesting foundational or paired courses that allow students from different programs to collaborate on a shared area of interest.  The LC model is also an evidence-based “high impact practice,” and as such, can positively impact student engagement and learning in General Education courses.

Examples of existing LC paired courses and Complemetary Contemporary Issues 365 courses in General Education

  • Imaging Violence and Nonviolence: Humanities + 365 Complementary, Women’s/Gender Studies and Peace Studies
  • Into the Wild: English + Phys Ed, Environment and Sustainability Certificate (under development)
  • Living on the Land: Regards sur la vie traditionnelle autochtone: French + Phys Ed intensives, Decolonization and Indigenous Studies
  • Gender Matters: Team-designed and team-taught 365 Complementary, W/GS
  • Peace 365: 365 Complementary featuring multi-disciplinary teacher panels, Peace
  • Make Things That Matter: 365 Complementary with integrated co-curricular activities, SPACE

What do I do if I am interested in developing an LC Course?

  • Take a look at the W21 LC Call for Proposals
  • Consider dropping in the LC zoom meet-up session with Pat Romano (LC Lead, Certificates and General Education) on Thursday, October 8 from 4:00-5:00 (You will be able join via the Faculty Hub website)
  • Submit a proposal to Karina D’Ermo at OAD by Thursday, October 15