A learning community meets with their student leader and professor

OU Students Talk About Why They Think Learning Communities are Important

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ATHENS, Ohio – Freshman year of college is life-changing for new students. They must move hours away to a whole new town; they know no one and no one knows them. This transition can be scary and hard on these barely-adults.

But Ohio University has a way to make their freshmen students feel more secure during their first semester.

“A learning community is where freshmen students that are all within the same major, they can come here and they learn how to be successful in transitioning to college,” Paige Mooney said, “whether that be personally, professionally, or academically.”

Mooney is a sophomore at OU and a learning community leader for sports management students, meaning that she helps teach the students and plans fun events for them.

Learning community, or LC, students take a set of linked core classes together with professors that are hand-picked by the university to help new students succeed. LC members study and work on projects together, but the most important part, Mooney and her students say, are the friendships that come out of LCs.

The LC professor and students work on a project
The LC students converse about a group project
The LC leader catches up with her students
LC students have fun with their professor

“I think one big reason is just making new friends,” LC student Max Meehan said. “You can’t see them, but everyone behind me is awkwardly making faces at me and those are all the people in my learning community.”

Mooney said has seen a huge change in her learning community students in the 15 weeks she has known them. She said she can tell they are more confident now than they were in August and they have adjusted well to the major change that just occurred in their lives.

“The biggest part is the transition,” Mooney said. “You go from high school where you know almost everyone, to a school with 24,000 students, you don’t know anybody. So having people that you have those similar interests with and being able to just learn more about yourself and the college, it’s really helpful.”

Mooney and her students are a close bunch, some of her students even described their little LC as “family” to them. The bonds that can come out of learning communities will last longer than just the first semester of college, Mooney said. She said she knows her students will keep in touch with her and with each other long after their LC ends.

For more information on learning communities, go to Ohio University’s website.