University College Advising Center

Hello RLC Faculty! We are excited that you will be teaching in one of our Raider Learning Communities. If you are new to the program or if you are a vet, we hope this site will serve as a great resource for you. Here we have provided from FAQs and articles related to learning communities. Should you have additional questions or needs related to teaching as a part of this program, please contact Heather Spell Arrington at Heather.Arrington@mtsu.edu or via phone at 898-2339. We great appreciate all that you do for MTSU students!


FAQs

What is a Raider Learning Community?
The Raider Learning Communities (RLC) are courses that are linked together and share a common cohort of students. General Education courses have been paired to form these communities. Since each community is made up of the same students, they get to know each other well, can form study groups and provide support and encouragement for one another. This program is designed with first-year students in mind, but any students who may need general education courses can participate.

How did I get assigned to teach this type of course?
Some faculty request to teach as a part of the RLC program. Others are simply assigned by their department and may not even know they are participating at first. Some faculty get together and create their own RLC pairings as well.

How will this affect my syllabus for the semester?
Depending on your level of interest, it may not affect your syllabus at all. We highly encourage faculty teaching in a pairing to get together and see where they might coordinate course topics, projects, test dates, etc. If you have content in both subject areas that can compliment one another, coordinate so that content is taught at similar times during the semester. Some faculty have even had their students do projects that have components required in each course. The sky is the limit depending on what you are comfortable doing.

How do students sign up for these classes?
At CUSTOMS (summer orientation for new students), we have informational sessions regarding the program. We talk with students about the benefits of participating. We encourage students to talk with their academic advisor during CUSTOMS to see if a RLC would be appropriate for them. The majority of the students who sign up for this program do it during CUSTOMS. A few returning students will choose to register during priority registration.

What can I expect from the students in my class?
RLC students should be no different than students you encounter in all of your other courses. As the semester progresses you will notice that the students get to know one another very well and look out for those who miss class or are struggling in a course. We often hear stories that RLC students get together and plan their Spring semester schedules where they have classes together again. Students like the support system that these types of courses automatically offer them.

What are the expectations of faculty teaching a Raider Learning Community Course?
Minimally we like to see that RLC faculty get together with the faculty member teaching the course you are linked with and get to know one another. Keep in contact as the semester goes along regarding students in need and how to support them. Ideally we like to see faculty who get excited about this opportunity and take advantage of coordinating your syllabus to complement the linked course and vice versa.


Articles Related to Learning Communities

Learning Communities and the Reconstruction of Remedial Education in Higher Education
Vincent Tinto - Syracuse University

'Learning Community' Programs Can Help At-Risk Students, Study Concludes
Peter Schmidt - Chronicle of Higher Education -  July 3, 2008

Taking Courses as a Group Helps Community-College Freshmen Succeed, Study Finds
Beckie Supiano - Chronicle of Higher Education - March 11, 2008