As the Acting Executive Director of the Consortium for Illinois Learning Communities [CILC], I am aware of the challenges facing higher education under the current situation. I also am aware that it is becoming likely that the opening of 2021 will continue to present those challenges, as schools may not be able to return to education as usual.
As most of you know, the ability to “connect” a new student to your institutional community is a key in that student’s continued progress and in their retention. That connection is at risk without in-person contact with faculty and other student peers–something difficult, if not impossible to achieve through distance learning.
Learning communities can enhance that experience in many ways.
As faculty revised on the fly last spring, as they planned how to execute their courses for the fall, they have had to find their way in this often unfamiliar environment.
Too many wheels are being reinvented alone, and unnecessarily.
Therefore, I am inviting those receiving this communication to share their experiences in their learning community courses regarding how they have addressed our current reality–how they have fostered community, active learning, faculty/student and student/student interaction, and successful learning outcomes. [And, by the way, student success, satisfaction, and persistence.] Please send me your comments, experiences, syllabi, etc. and I will post summaries of what has been tried, and how things have worked out on the CILC website– www.consortillc.org .
If anyone would be willing to answer specific questions about their efforts, or to mentor other individuals in their specific efforts, please let me know. I will not link others directly to you but will serve as a conduit–giving you contact information so you can reach anyone asking for help, if you so choose.
2021 is around the corner, but there is adequate time to prepare for the best educational experience we can provide our students.
If you are teaching a learning community and would like assistance in any particular aspect of distance learning, or if you aren’t teaching in a learning community, but would like help in getting started, or in encouraging them on your campus, please let me know. CILC and its members are here to be of help.
Best wishes in your efforts for your students,
Charles Pastors, Acting Executive Director, CILC