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Learning Community Transitions in the First Year: A Case Study of Academic and Social Network Change

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Residential learning communities often focus on easing first-year students' transitions to college by emphasizing the creation of peer social and academic relationships. However, this relational process is most often examined through analyzing individual student characteristics, behaviors, and attitudes. This study used network analysis to elucidate the process of residential community development. Specifically, it examined academic and social integration by comparing peer networks generated through a theme-based residential learning community with a random-assignment residence hall floor. Results suggested that learning communities may create an environment where firstyear students form academic and social ties more quickly, although these levels were not sustained into the second semester.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition is a semiannual refereed journal providing current research on the first college year and other significant student transitions. The primary purpose of the Journal is to disseminate empirical research findings on student transition issues that inform practice in all sectors of postsecondary education, such as explorations into the academic, personal, and social experiences (including outcomes related to success, learning, and development) of students at a range of transition points throughout the college years; transition issues unique to specific populations (e.g., non-traditional, traditional, historically underrepresented students, transfer students, commuters, part-time students); and explorations of faculty development, curriculum, and pedagogical innovations connected to college transitions.
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