A Reflective Essay on Creating a Community-of-Learning in a Large Lecture-Theatre Based University Course

Abstract

The benefits of creating learning communities have been clearly established in educational literature. However, the research on ‘community-of-learning’ has largely focused on intermediate and high-school contexts and on the benefits of co-facilitation in the classroom. In this paper, we contribute to educational research by describing an approach for a large (1000 + students/year), lecture-theatre based, university management course. This approach largely excludes co-facilitation, but offers a unified and integrated approach by staff to all other aspects of running the course. By applying an ethnographic methodology, our contribution to the ‘community-of-learning’ literature is a set of strategies that enable a sense of belonging and collective ownership amongst all participants in the course. We describe the experienced benefits, as well as challenges, of such teaching, as we outline the methods we use to enhance students’ perception of belonging to a community-of-learning. We conclude by making recommendations as to the requirements of adopting a community-of-learning teaching approach to tertiary education.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Quotes reflect the views of student feedback from voluntary and anonymous course and teaching evaluations.

  2. 2.

    The city of Christchurch experienced a number of devastating earthquakes during 2010 and 2011.

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Correspondence to Huibert P. de Vries.

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de Vries, H.P., Malinen, S. A Reflective Essay on Creating a Community-of-Learning in a Large Lecture-Theatre Based University Course. NZ J Educ Stud (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40841-020-00165-1

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Keywords

  • Tertiary
  • Team teaching
  • Community-of-learning
  • Belonging
  • Lecture-theatre based