Latina student perceptions of learning communities Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/sq87bx23n

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  • The purpose of this study is to examine the learning that occurs in Latina students who enroll in learning communities designed for underprepared community college students. The research question guiding this study is: What are the experiences of Latina students enrolled in developmental learning community courses which have the greatest impact on their learning? The research design included an interpretive approach and phenomenological method. Thirteen Latina students enrolled in learning communities that paired developmental English with counseling classes at two rural northern California community colleges participated through open-ended interviews and a focus group. Data from the interviews and focus group were coded and grouped into broad areas. These included students' first impressions of their learning communities, and first impressions of college for new students; how students felt about the learning community environment; the contrasts between their experiences in their learning community classes and other classes; and, finally, student perceptions of learning that took place in their learning community classes. Themes were identified within each of these areas. Findings from this study indicate that Latina community college students found great value in learning communities. The linked course structure helped relieve anxiety about being in a new and sometimes alien environment. Students expressed a need to feel comfortable and supported to learn, and when they felt comfortable, they were more apt to participate actively. Students saw their learning community courses as providing the academic support and social connections needed for them to learn.
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