Longitudinal Study of Learning Communities in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering
In 1998, our department turned to the pedagogical innovation termed “learning communities” in an effort to enhance student retention and to bring coherence and meaning to our first-year student curriculum. We have found that our learning community has provided an opportunity for agricultural engineering students to become involved in the Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE) department from the moment they arrive on campus. Not only has the learning community helped us to increase our retention from 41.9% in 1998 to 95% in 2001, it has helped us to address many of our program objectives including students’ abilities to function on multidisciplinary teams, communicate effectively, and have knowledge of important contemporary issues. Results of our assessment efforts, which encompass both quantitative and qualitative strategies, suggest that students are overwhelmingly satisfied with the program, are involved in our department, and are successful in their academic progress toward their engineering or technology degree.
This proceeding is from Proceedings of the American Society for Engineering Education, Montreal, QC, Canada (June 2002).