Perspective On...Posted Feb. 16, 2010
This first appeared in the Feb. 15, 2010 issue of e-Inside.
Kent State faculty members took steps this past fall to
make education for their students something truly remarkable, and those
path-breaking steps paid off.
Jennifer Noble, academic advising coordinator in the College and Graduate School of Business Administration; Barbara Hugenberg, assistant professor in the Department of Communication Studies; and Rosalind Thompson,
Goodyear Executive Professor in the College and Graduate School of
Business Administration, took part in a linked courses pilot program,
where students were able to achieve true interdisciplinary learning by
forming connections across course curricula and departmental boundaries.
Kent State’s learning communities have offered
linked courses in the past, allowing students to enroll in each of
their classes with the same group of students. Last fall’s pilot
program took the concept a step further, using faculty collaboration to
achieve cross-disciplinary course integration. Over the course of the
semester, students studied the same topics in their introductory
business course, their introductory communication course and their
First-Year Experience course.
The linkages were chosen specifically to help
students understand how courses related to each other through
interconnected curricula, as well as to help them build connections
with other students also enrolled in the program.
Student survey responses at the end of the
semester showed overwhelming support for the linked courses. Students
said they were able to see the connections between related ideas in the
different courses, and that these connections made for an even better
learning experience than in their other, nonlinked classes. They also
said they felt more comfortable in the linked courses because they were
able to get to know most of the other students over the span of the
More than 80 percent of students who participated
in the pilot said that all freshmen should be enrolled in a linked
course as part of their First-Year Experience.
I would like to thank all of those involved in the
pilot for making this exciting adventure such a success. It is clear
from our students’ responses that it was extremely helpful and
enjoyable to them as a learning experience and something we should
continue to pursue as a university. As we move toward fully integrated
courses, students will continue to benefit in more and new ways.
After receiving such promising responses from
students, we are looking forward to expanding the program in fall 2010.
We hope the program will grow to include 10 additional linkages in
English, Destination Kent State: First-Year Experience, and students’
major programs, while continuing with the established College of
Business Administration and Department of Communication Studies
For more information on the linked courses and how to get involved, please contact N.J. Akbar, assistant director of Student Success Programs, at 330-672-4138 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senior Associate Provost
Student Response Survey Selected Responses:
- 87 percent said that linked courses helped them feel more confident in interacting with faculty
- 84 percent said they favored their linked courses over other, non-linked courses
- 82 percent felt that linked courses should be a part of all freshmen first year experience