Learning Communities at OHIO
Learning Communities (LCs) for first-year students began as a concept at Ohio University in the Fall of 1999, with a pilot implemented in four first-year residence halls — Brown/Pickering/Crawford/Mackinnon. During that time, an 1804 Grant was requested and funded for the 2000-01 academic year for six Residential Learning Communities (RLCs). Another grant was requested and approved for two more years (01-02 and 02-03), moving to nine and then ten RLCs across campus. A UPAC proposal was approved for University College to fund the RLC program, including a full-time administrator. RLCs expanded during the Fall of 2003 to fourteen communities, two of which were solely devoted to students in the College of Business. In Fall 2004, the program had sixteen communities, eleven of which were based in all of the undergraduate colleges. In the Fall of 2005, we broadened our concept to encompass learning communities that were not residential, and there were 38 learning communities (LCs) with over 630 participants. Beginning Fall 2007, University College required all undecided students to enroll in a learning community, which resulted in significantly positive assessment results.
• Fall 1999 – PILOT two communities, 40 students
• 2000-01 – Six communities, 93 students
• 2001-02 – Nine communities, 148 students
• 2002-03 – Ten communities, 140 students
• 2003-04 – Fourteen communities, 239 students
• Fall 2004 – Sixteen communities, 279 students
• Fall 2005 – 38 communities, 638 participants
• Fall 2006 – 57 communities, 1026 participants
• Fall 2007 – 115 communities, 1925 participants
• Fall 2008 – 142 communities, 2177 participants
• Fall 2009 – 148 communities, 2408 participants
• Fall 2010 – 162 communities, 2704 participants
• Fall 2011 – 174 communities, 2603 participants
There are five objectives for the LC program at Ohio University:
Take a historical look at Learning Communities
1) Create learning-based peer networks
2) Improve the academic success of first-year students
3) Improve student retention from the freshman to sophomore year
4) Increase student satisfaction with Ohio University
5) Increase student-faculty interaction outside the classroom
The objectives, have been/are being met through the following programmatic elements:
Positive results have been found through studying retention and grade point averages of LC participants.
- Students are enrolled in two to four thematically linked courses, including a learning community seminar, in the Fall Semester. The courses, with the exception of introductory course, count toward students' Tier 2 requirements or major requirements.
- In most LCs, students live in a shared living environment for a common residential experience.
- An administrator or faculty member from the college teaches the introductory course.
- Students participate in out-of-class activities, in most instances organized by a Peer Mentor, that include involvement of Faculty members from the linked courses.
Cohort retention rate % GPA**
Fall 2002 86/83* 3.02/2.94
Fall 2003 91/82 3.07/2.96
Fall 2004 87/81 3.01/2.84
Fall 2005 82/79 2.93/2.84
Fall 2006 81/78 2.88/2.82
Fall 2007 81/80 3.00/2.81
Fall 2008 82/80 2.98/2.86
Fall 2009 81/81 2.87/2.82
Learning communities at Ohio University are a collaborative effort between University College, the Office of Admissions, the Office of the Registrar, Institutional Research, the Office of Information Technology, the Division of Student Affairs, the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business, the Scripps College of Communication, the College of Education, the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, the College of Fine Arts, and the College of Health Sciences and Professions.
**The GPA data is adjusted using ACT scores as covariate for aptitude/ability.