Tag Archives: learning communities

Being a Learning Community Leader

Justin Lumbard

Justin Lumbard,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH dd Month 2014

Back in Spring Semester, I was approached about being a Learning Community Leader. I only had a brief idea of what that actually meant, but my advisor, Dr. Bob, told me that he thought I would be good at it and that it would be a good opportunity for me. So, late last summer, I was trained as a student leader for the Learning Community program. This program seeks to give students a head start in some of their studies as well as the social aspect of being in college. It is a great forum for meeting new people that have similar interests.

This semester, I was the Learning Community Leader for a group of undecided engineers under Dr. Masel as the faculty leader. Because they were undecided students, we were able to show them the different engineering disciplines that they could decide to study. Beyond that though, I believe the new students were able to get a great head start in meeting other people and get acclimated to the new environment that they would be in for the next four to five years.

Personally, this experience was a great experience for me also. I was able to get exposure to helping plan classes and events that the students were able to go to, such as a hockey game and a night of jazz at one of the local places on campus. I also was able to lead study sessions to help students when they had upcoming exams or to review past assignments.

Finally, though, I think we all had fun. The classes were informative for the students but they were never dry or boring. We were able to do projects in class that were engineering related but also helped develop team working skills and friendships. One example of this was the class where we built towers out of simple sheets of paper and masking tape.

Learning Community

The objective was to build a tower to hold as much weight as possible with as few sheets of paper. We had a scoring system, but one team was able to build a tower that held every book, as well as 50 pounds of paper, that we had in the class room.

Paper Tower

The learning community experience was a great growing opportunity for myself, as well as the students who took the class.

Being a Learning Community Leader

Ben Taylor

Ben Taylor,
Senior, Industrial and Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 8 November 2013 – One of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had at Ohio University is the opportunity to be a Learning Community Leader (LCL) for a first-year student Learning Community. This Fall is my second rotation as an LCL; last Fall I worked with Dr. Masel from the ISE department as the LCL for a class of ISE, ETM, and undecided engineering majors and this Fall I’m working with Dr. Schwerha from the ISE department as the LCL for a class of ISE and undecided engineering majors. While my experiences have been largely similar in structure and responsibility load, there have been several significant differences between the two classes; I’m happy to say that this semester, in my opinion, has been much more successful in terms of the relationships I’ve been able to build with our students. I’ll touch on those successes, but first let me give a slight background of my responsibilities as an LCL.

Firstly, I highly recommend any first-year student to enroll in their respective majors’ Learning Community program. The LC Programs are designed to aid first-year students in their transition to university life and I have seen countless students who have benefited from these experiences. My role as an LCL is to work alongside the professor to plan and facilitate classroom discussions that include broad topics such as time management, study skills, team-building, academic advising, leadership, emotional intelligence, goal-setting, and many others. I also work with the students to set up outside-of-class activities that we can all do together that are not only fun for myself and the students, but that open their eyes to the many wonderful opportunities they can find at Ohio University.

As I said before, this is my second year as an LCL. In my first year, I worked with a great professor and learned a lot about myself and about being a leader, but I felt that there was a certain disconnect between me and the first-year students. I think what it boiled down to was that I got off to a slow start with this Learning Community: I had a hard time planning out-of-class events, I thought very little about what kind of relationship I wanted to build with the students, and I didn’t take my responsibility as seriously as I should have. By all accounts, the Learning Community went well, but I knew that I could strive to improve.

This year, Dr. Schwerha and I have been able to build a much greater sense of community within the Learning Community which does wonders for the students’ willingness to participate and become involved in university life. I got off to a much better start to the semester, planning numerous outside-of-class events early on and working to build strong relationships with the students. This semester I wanted to show my students that, yes, I am a senior and I have a professional role in this class, but also that I am still a young person and that each of them can come to me with any types of troubles they may be having and talk to me as an equal. I have enjoyed my time as an LCL immensely and I hope that every first-year student entering into their time at Ohio University can take advantage of that tremendous opportunity.