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Learning Communities

OHIO's Learning Communities help new students get connected and support them during their transition from home and high school to Ohio University and Athens. A Learning Community is a group of students who take a common set of courses together or share a common experience around their academics. Participants develop a deeper understanding of the courses' subject matter while they build relationships and learn together outside of the classroom.

As part of a learning community, you'll get to know others students from your major or area of interest. Together, you'll take a series of classes, typically a freshman seminar and two general education courses. You'll gain a deeper understanding of your courses, subject matter, and make friends both inside and outside the classroom.

2021 BSO Learning Community Booklet 

Program Benefits 

Learning Communities are designed with learning, academic success, and life outside the classroom in mind. All students want to feel at home, get to know people easily, and do well academically. Ohio University's Learning Communities can help bring it all together, and provide a few nice extras, too.

Participants have ranked the top four benefits of participation as meeting new people and making friends, small class size, in-class discussions, and studying for other classes with classmates. 

Friendships

Learning Communities are an excellent way to meet new friends. As part of a community of no more than 25 students, you and your community members will share not only learning experiences and out-of-class activities, but support one another's academic success.

Common Courses

You and the members of your Learning Community are enrolled in two or more courses in common. These linked courses form the basis of your fall semester schedule. You will know a few friendly faces in those larger classes. Finding a study partner has never been so easy!

Fulfilled General Education or Major Requirements

Every student at Ohio University must complete a series of "general education" courses. The courses in the Learning Community program are either general education courses or courses that are required for your specific academic program. This means that when you enroll in a Learning Community, you begin to complete these requirements and progress toward your degree immediately.

Learning Community Seminar

This one/two-credit seminar course is the hub of your community. Examples are UC 1900, UC 1000, and PSY 1090. Your instructor will assist you in adjusting to college life as well as guide you through the exploration of what Ohio University has to offer. Each community will also have an upperclass student as a peer mentor (Learning Community Leader, LCL) to provide social and academic support. Other topics such as diversity, community responsibilities, and service learning will be explored.

Out-of-Class Activities

Participating in a Learning Community will give you the opportunity to engage in academic as well as social activities with the members of your community. These activities often include the faculty from your linked courses. Some activities from past communities include cookouts, shopping/IMAX movie in Columbus, dinner with professors, carving pumpkins for Halloween, and study sessions.

OHIO Connections

From your community members, peer mentor, and Learning Community instructor to the faculty who teach your linked courses, you will make connections throughout the university. Each of these unique connections can contribute to an academically rich, fun, and rewarding academic experience and your ultimate success at OHIO.

 

Join a Learning Community

Learning Communities are designed for both first-year and transfer students.

Incoming First-Year Students

The first opportunity for students to select a learning community is between February 1 and May 7. Students will have another opportunity to select a Learning Community at their Bobcat Student Orientation session.

  • Using your Ohio University login information, apply for a Learning Community through the online application. Initial applications are accepted February 1 through May 7.
  • To be assured that your application is processed accurately and that you're enrolled in the appropriate learning community, you must return the housing deposit and contract (or housing exemption form) by May 1.
  • Students can sign up for Bobcat Student Orientation beginning February 1. Contact BSO with any questions.
  • An information session and registration for the general LC programs will take place during Bobcat Student Orientation. Registration options for the college-based communities will be contingent on acceptance into the specific academic programs.
  • If you have a specific academic need, such as College Credit Plus credit(s), AP credit(s), transfer credit(s), or are registered with Institutional Equity and have concerns you would like us to meet, email the Director of Learning Community Programs at learning.communities@ohio.edu.

Transfer Students

OHIO offers Learning Communities that center around being a transfer student. To join a Transfer Student Learning Community for fall semester, please complete an online application. 

Apply for a Transfer Student Learning Community

Can I join?

All first-year students and transfer students are eligible to participate in a Learning Community their first term at Ohio University.

Why should I join?

Students who have participated in learning communities on average are more successful academically and report having a richer college experience overall than students not participating in such programs. The benefits of developing a strong support system as well as opportunities for cooperative learning contribute to this success.

How much does it cost?

There are no additional fees for joining a Learning Community, nor does it require all your time. You will take classes outside your community, room with students outside the program and become involved in other parts of campus life. However, when you have questions, need to get in a study group or want to grab lunch, you will always know someone to call.

How do I request to join a Learning Community?

You will receive a letter from your academic program regarding the Learning Community opportunities for you, or you can follow the instructions on this page.

How will I be notified of the status of my request?

If you enroll in a college-based community or a specific population community, you will be notified by email or letter prior to orientation of your acceptance.

What are the “necessary steps” to join?

To enroll in a Learning Community, you will need to complete the online application process AND have completed a housing contract and paid the housing deposit (or filled-out a housing exemption form. The housing deposit/exemption form is your “final” admittance step to Ohio University). Students also enroll in learning communities at orientation with the assistance of an academic advisor.

Do I have to live in a special residential area to participate?

The majority of our Learning Communities are NOT residentially based, which means that you can live anywhere on campus. 

Some of our college-based Learning Communities ARE residentially based and/or have a residential option, and some college-based Learning Communities are non-residential. The online application specifies if your group includes a residential component.

How do I register for Learning Community courses?

During orientation you will be given one call number to use to register for the community of your choice. That one call number will enroll you in two or three courses, the LC seminar course and one or two Tier II courses.

If I am placed in a residence hall that has a Learning Community, does it mean that I am automatically in the Learning Community?

Our residence halls are quite large and even if a Learning Community is residentially based or has a residential option, the students in the Learning Communities are spread out over the entire building so that you can get to know other students as well. ­The majority of the students in the residence halls are NOT in residentially-based Learning Communities.

Will I be able to register for other classes in addition to the courses I will take with my Learning Community?

Yes. During orientation, you will meet with an academic advisor who will discuss the coursework that would best match your interests and complement the Learning Community classes that you intend to take.

What if I have AP or previous college credit for a course requirement and my preferred Learning Community includes this course?

You can still sign up for this Learning Community. Be sure the University has a copy of your transcript. During orientation, the Learning Community director can make adjustments to your Learning Community cluster. We don't want to penalize a student for thinking and planning ahead!

What happens if I would like to be in a Learning Community and my preferred roommate does not? Can we still live together?

Learning Community are not all residentially-based, with the exception of a few (such as Fine Arts, and that information is built into the application).

Yes, you may "pull in" a roommate. Fill out the housing contract and list the name and Personal Identification (PID) number of your preferred roommate in the area indicated on your contract.

What type of student is the Learning Community program geared toward?

The Learning Community program is geared toward all ability levels of students. Regardless of your major, there is a Learning Community designed to meet your interests.

Is the program for fall semester only?

The majority of our Learning Communities are available for fall semester only, as our programs are designed to assist students in their first semester at Ohio University. Students may choose to continue to take classes and socialize together on their own after fall semester.

Is it required that I take all of the classes that are clustered in my Learning Community?

Yes. Students must take all courses that are offered with their community.

The only exception is for those courses in which a student has AP, CC+, or other college credit.

What is the Learning Community seminar course?

The seminar course is the hub of the community and is taught by the students’ Learning Community instructor. There is also a Learning Community Leader (peer mentor, LCL) who is the instructor’s assistant for each community.

What should I do if I need additional information?

If you have questions about the academic aspects of Learning Communities, email us at learning.communities@ohio.edu or contact us by phone at 740-593-1953. If you would like to ask about residential matters or housing assignments, contact Housing and Residence Life at 740-593-4090 or housing@ohio.edu, or visit the Housing and Residence Life website.

Contact

Reach the Learning Communities team, Monday-Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

740.593.1953 (phone)
740.593.0600 (fax)
learning.communities@ohio.edu

Program Objectives and Elements

There are five objectives for the Learning Community program at Ohio University:

  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 are met through the following programmatic elements:

  • 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 the introductory course, count toward students' Tier 2 requirements or major requirements.
  • In most Learning Communities, 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 Learning Community Leader, that include involvement of faculty members from the linked courses.

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 Patton College of Education, the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, the College of Fine Arts, and the College of Health Sciences and Professions.