Successful courses build and maintain a strong course community. The community is led by a course team who bring different perspectives, yet work together to create a consistent experience for students. This enables all students on the course to become part of an engaged, dynamic learning community.
UKPSF - A number of resources in this section relate to Area 4: developing effective learning environments and approaches to students support and guidance.
Steps to building course community
The Student Perspective
The empowerment students can feel when invited to take part in the community:
"Students were encouraged to share their opinions early on in the course." Solent Graduate Intern.
The challenge of aligning your practice with colleagues' practice:
"The most frustrating part of the course was that tutors would give conflicting advice." Solent Graduate Intern.
Example Projects at Solent which promote course community
The design foundation team leverage the enthusiasm of incoming students by organising an intensive start of year project: students work in groups to design and create a full-size beach hut in cardboard. Industry experts are brought in to judge and offer valuable professional feedback on student work.
The English course team organise regular trips which create opportunities for learning outside of the classroom.
Staff and students on the course work together to write for, edit and produce a course magazine.
Explore Educational Research
There are a number of areas of research in education which feed into building the course community. The terms below link to Solent library catalogue searchers; a starting point for exploring these topics in a higher education context.
Explore a topic: Communities of Practice , Student Identity
Read one thought-provoking article: 'Acknowledging the Affective in Higher Education' by Colin Beard, Sue Clegg and Karen Smith.
Browse a journal: Journal of Further and Higher Education
Course Community Checklist
Review this checklist to evaluate how you engage with and support the course community. On the following tabs you will find questions, Solent examples and activities to explore these areas in more depth.
Contribute to this section
The purpose of this site is to share practice. If your course team has an activity, strategy or perspective which could benefit other tutors at Solent, contact email@example.com.