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Learning Communities

They say two heads are better than one. At UB, we think a whole bunch of heads are better than one.

Learning community students "uncover the veil" of team writing.

In fall 2012, Gregg Wilhelm, adjunct faculty and founder and executive director of CityLit Project—a program in residence in UB's School of Communications Design—taught the ENGL 200: The Experience of Literature component of a learning community. The course was titled "iPad, eBook, uThink: How Technology Has Changed Writing, Publishing and Reading."

Instead of lecturing, Wilhelm encouraged the students in his class to write—and, even more challenging, to write together in teams. The resulting book, Uncover the Veil , is now a published anthology of stories conceived, developed and written by five groups of five writers. Students examined how technology has changed the way that literature is delivered, but the fundamental premise of literature has remained the same: it's "an effort to transfer content from a writer (the 'I') to a reader (the 'U')," according to the book's introduction.

Despite many freshmen being digital natives, meaning they've never known a world without digital technologies, the students produced a very analog, beautifully printed book.

So we've developed learning communities, a set of two or three thematically linked courses in which you can learn and develop skills along with your classmates during your freshman year.

Here's how it works:

  • Two days a week you'll attend classes with the students and professors in your learning community. From day one, you'll get to know your teachers and classmates—small-college contact in a professional university setting.
  • Your learning community classes are thematically linked and provide an integrated approach to interdisciplinary education, mirroring how knowledge works in the real world.
  • These classes will satisfy some of your freshman year requirements, including social sciences, humanities, information literacy and oral communication.
  • Depending on your schedule and your life responsibilities, you'll have time to interact with other freshmen outside of your learning community, see professors, do service projects, go to the library, participate in community engagement initiatives, and more. In other words: Connect with the campus around you.

learning community field trip:
Busboys and Poets, fall 2014

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learning community field trip:
American Visionary Arts Museum, spring 2011

Enoch Pratt Library learning community field trip

learning community field trip:
Enoch Pratt Library, fall 2011

The Walters Art Museum learning community field trip

learning community field trip:
The Walters Art Museum, fall 2011

Since your learning community classes are all on the same days of the week, they will be interactive and flexible. You might:

  • take a bus to the Inner Harbor and have a class in a new setting
  • enjoy a movie or participate in a group discussion
  • pair your skills with those of other students to collaborate on a group project
  • find yourself putting the textbook aside to experience hands-on learning.