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  1. 1. Residential Learning Communities:Knowledge, Connectedness and Involvement Monica Kimbrell, Dana McGuire, Samantha Mills
  2. 2. Background & Significance
  3. 3. Living On-Campus @ VT• Traditional Residence Hall• Living Learning Communities (i.e. Residential Learning Communities) • Academic major communities • Enhanced learning communities • Residential colleges • Themed housing http://www.housing.vt.edu/llc
  4. 4. What is a LLC/RLC• Target first year students• Promote learning while sharing living space• Grouped by • academic discipline • specific support service • extracurricular interests (wellness or community service)• Main objectives: • student development • student success Zhao &Kuh, 2004
  5. 5. Benefits of RLC • Community • Academic support • Social support Domizi, 2008
  6. 6. Student Involvement Theory Positive Linear RelationshipStudent Involvement Student learning & personal development Astin, 1999
  7. 7. What do students say about RLC ?• More engaged• Perceive RLC to be more socially & academically supportive• Easier transition to the next academic year• Positively enhance academic experience Inkelas& Weisman, 2003; Wawrzynski& Jessup-Anger, 2010
  8. 8. Slusher Hall & The Wing• Traditional halls• LLC • Themed housing • The Wing • Application process • Seminar course • Focus on academic & essential life skills • Target population: first year students http://www.housing.vt.edu/llc/communities/wing
  9. 9. Why study LLC?• Highly discussed topic• Limited research• Value to community Tinto, 2003
  10. 10. Purpose • Examine and compare the experiences of students living in a traditional hall and students living in a LLC 1. Why do students choose their preferred living arrangement? 2. Do RLC residents have more knowledge about and access to academic and social resources?
  11. 11. HypothesisWe believe that the results of this study will demonstrate that students who participate in LLC during the first year of college will have access to more academic and social resources than first year students who do not participate in LLCs.
  12. 12. METHODS
  13. 13. Snowball! Traditional Hall
  14. 14. What we did…• Two focus groups• Semi-structured format• 30 minute recorded sessions• Analysis • Listened for themes individually • Further developed themes as group
  15. 15. What we found…
  16. 16. What do you do? Intramurals
  17. 17. What if you were struggling? • All were aware • Seek help from of academic hall mates resources • One member on academic • Learned through probation scavenger hunt • Knows all resources - now in wing class
  18. 18. Need academic help?“It’s neat that we know where they are”
  19. 19. Need academic help?“I’m sure there’s a lot we could do, but that’s all we would do. Everything we need is on our hall.”
  20. 20. How or did you know/decide about LLC? • Learned through • Aware but uninterested family or friends • Reasons: • One learned • All same major once on campus • Students in LLC on• Reasons: different academic level • To make friends • Wanted co-ed hall • Location • “Way too serious, or kind of a joke” • Desire to be with first-year students
  21. 21. How or did you know/decide about LLC?“We know about them; We don’t care.”
  22. 22. Relationships on and off hall? • On floor relationships were very strong • Off floor relationships were not as significant
  23. 23. How or did you know/decide about LLC? “The people on my hall are my family...”
  24. 24. Connected to VT Community? • Felt connected to community • “No” • All but one student • Equated involvement with • Hall was primary being part of community community • Felt most connected when• One mentioned feeling away from campus and most connected through during football season athletic events
  25. 25. Discussion
  26. 26. Knowledge, Connectedness, and Involvement Traditional Hall • Knowledgeable • One student about campus knowledgeable about resources for campus resources for academic support academic support • Connected to the • Connected to the floor and greater floor, only to Virginia Tech Virginia Tech community during big community athletic seasons and off campus • Involved in various student organizations and • Involved in fewer student clubs organizations, very involved in the floor (i.e. sports).
  27. 27. Limitations• The group size• Time constraints• Groupthink
  28. 28. Future Research• More focus groups with more traditional hall floors involved• Incorporate different LLC• Use varying types of residence halls
  29. 29. ReferencesAstin, A. W. (1999). Student involvement: A developmental theory for higher education. Journal of College Student Development, 40, 518-529.Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (2010). The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://classifications.carnegiefoundation.org/Domizi, D. P. (2008). Student perceptions about their informal learning experiences in a first-year residential learning community. Journal of The First- Year Experience & Students in Transition, 20, 97-110. Retrieved from http://www.ahsi.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/student-perceptions-about- thier-informal-learning-experiences-in-a-first-year-residential-learning- community.pdfInkelas, K. K. & Weisman, J. L. (2003). Different by design: An examiniation of student outcomes among participants in thress types of living-learning programs. Journal of College Student Development, 44, 335-368. doi: 10.1353/csd.2003.0027Tinto, V. (2003).Learning better together: The impact of learning communities on student success. Higher Education Monograph Series, 1-8.
  30. 30. References (cont.)Virginia Tech. (2011a). Housing and residence life. Retrieved from http://www.housing.vt.eduVirginia Tech. (2011b). Housing and residence life: Living and learning communities. Retrieved from http://www.housing.vt.edu/llc/index.phpVirginia Tech. (2011c). Housing and residence life: The wing. Retrieved from http://www.housing.vt.edu/llc/communities/wing.phpWawrzynski, M. R. & Jessup-Anger, J. E. (2010). From expectations to experiences: Using a structural typology to understand first-year student outcomes in academically based living-learning communities. Journal of College Student Development, 51, 201-217. doi: 10.1353/csd.0.0119Zhao, C. M. &Kuh, G. D. (2004). Adding value: Learning communities and student engagement. Research in Higher Education, 45,115-138. doi: 10.1023/B:RIHE.0000015692.88534.de