Fall Snapshots: Learning Communities in Progress

Three learning community pilot pairings (7 courses) are in progress this fall.  Here’s a glimpse of what’s happening in the classrooms, and what the teachers are saying about it.


The Journeys cluster of English, Humanities and Academic Skills is headed by Susan Briscoe, Anjali Choksi and Michelle Smith.

“Our focus since our planning phase for Journeys has been on relationship-building, both between the college and Indigenous communities and in the classroom. While there have been challenges, we have really enjoyed this experience of working so closely with students and collaborating with colleagues from other disciplines and institutions. We are learning so much!” –  Susan Briscoe and Anjali Choksi




Imaging Violence and Non-violence, taught by Pat Romano (Humanities) and Kim Simard (Cin-Comm), is a Women & Gender Studies course pairing.

“Although I am spending lots of time collaborating, attending my colleagues course, and working on integrating learning activities, it doesn’t feel like work.  I’m learning from students. I am learning from my colleague. Students are learning from us. We are all learning on many different levels, and that is what makes it so exciting.  It is such a joy to see students excel, not only in the discipline you are teaching, but another you never expected they would be so good at.” Kim Simard

“I have loved every minute pairing with Kim’s cin-com classes, and I am learning something new every class.  I was a little hesitant about opening my own classroom to another colleague, but it’s been well worth it. Even co-grading integrative assignments was a fascinating experience.”  –  Pat Romano

VNV lab3


War and Peace is a new Reflections pairing of Humanities and History, led by Julian Nemeth and Michael Duckett.

“Students are regularly coming up with comments and analysis that I have never heard in my over thirty years of teaching similar courses.  It is also a wonderful learning experience for me, as I learn by participating in classes my colleague teaches.” Michael Duckett

“Teaching a work like Tolstoy’s War and Peace–a 1200-page novel that focuses deeply on historical and ethical questions–would be almost unthinkable outside of the context of a paired seminar.  The students in our course have continually impressed us with the connections that they draw between the two sections of the class; the links they make to the contemporary world; and the analytical insights of their writing. The students’ enthusiasm and engagement, even (and especially) when they strenuously disagree with one another, has helped make the seminar feel like not just another class but a true learning community.” – Julian Nemeth

WP 4


Both students and faculty participating in these courses are being surveyed on their teaching and learning experiences.  If you are interested in what’s involved in collaborative course design or team teaching, get in touch with Susan, Anjali, Pat, Kim, Julian or Michael – they’ll be happy to talk to you about what they are doing, and how they are doing it.

Winter 2017 will see a second run for Pat and Kim’s courses, and a first run for Mapping Stories of Shaughnessy Village, a pairing of Research Methods and Introduction to Geography developed by Mark Beauchamp and Geoffrey Pearce.  More information in an upcoming post about this unique place-based Social Science methods pairing.