A Super Learning Community
Taking Learning to the Next Level
Trying to find your tribe as a college newbie? For one group of freshman, the route to kindred spirits was through an intensive Super Learning Community, a mega-course focusing on social change and environmental justice, and spanning the fields of art, anthropology, political science, and peace and justice studies.
Learning Communities are an interdisciplinary approach to teaching where students attend class as a cohort. Seemingly disparate courses, such as dance and physics, are taught together so learning can be approached from different perspectives.
The Super Learning Community, or Super LC, debuted in 2015, and encompassed three weekly class sessions, four disciplines, four teachers, and 12 credits. It was the first of its kind to span the breadth of more than two disciplines and to offer Dyson students the chance to complete a significant chunk of their core curriculum requirements in their first semester of college.
“Having this challenge prepared me for my future classes at Pace,” says Alyssa Roldan ‘19, a student in the inaugural Super LC. “Not only was I able to complete 12 credits in a single course, the courses all had to do with topics of great interest to me.” Roldan is planning to double major in Peace and Justice Studies and Communications Studies.
The super course was the brainchild of professors Matthew Bolton of political science, Eve Laramee of art, Judith Pajo of anthropology, and Emily Welty of peace and justice studies. All wanted to create a forum where hot button issues such as environmental destruction, violence and poverty, and how to create change could be discussed and analyzed from multi-faceted angles. Creating a distinctive student experience for the first-time college student was also paramount.
Eve Laramee explains, “In addition to collaborative learning, we wanted to create a supportive experience for first time college students. They were in classes together at least three times a week, progressing through the course together as a group. As faculty we got to know them very well, and lasting friendships were made among the students.”
“It was life changing. The students bonded with each other, and really great friendships have come out of it. My professors were amazing,” says Carina Draper ‘19, a Communication Studies major. “The main thing I took away was to always question things around you, and know that things can always be changed for the better if worked at long enough!!”
With the success of this first Super LC, the team is considering plans to offer this again in the future.