Learning with a community

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By Destiny Rivera / Features Editor

Study session (Strategic Communications and Relations )

By Destiny Rivera / Features Editor

The Community for Academic Progress is a program Riverside City College offers to students who are interested in working in grouped courses.

About 30 students interact with each other more than once a day because they are in the same classes together.

Last year, roughly 440 students were members of the program.

 All of the courses available are educationally linked within each other and go over similar materials in each classroom. They “share common themes, activities, and assignments” as stated in the fall 2011 brochure.

Students and professors are familiar with one another, making it a comfortable environment and workspace.

Educational Adviser, Tara McCarthy explains how some of the students are the first to attend college in their families and it’s helpful to provide them with guidance.

“I joke around with the students by telling them to think of me as their big sister,” McCarthy said with a smile.

“I have experience going to college at RCC and transferring to a university as well; use me as a resource,” she said.

McCarthy has been working with the program for five and a half years. Her role in the program is to coordinate the recruitment and enrolment process.

“A lot of the success of the program has to do with the CAP faculty and staff and the interactions they have with each other and their students,” McCarthy said.

The professors who teach with Community of Academic Progress create integrative assignments, which are two or more assignments that overlap each other.

For instance, an English professor might ask the class to write an essay on the same subject they learned about in sociology class.                                      

  Not only do students have the opportunity to work with one another, but faculty can also experience working with other colleagues.

Professional development allows the professors to take time out side of the class to create assignments over the summer and winter school session.

Unfortunately, because of budget cuts some of the courses were dropped from the program, but Community of Academic Progress remains very successful.

For two years now English 1A has been available in the learning communities and is required for achieving an associate’s degree.

“When we first started the CAP program we had four learning communities, and we now have had up to nine learning communities offered in one semester,” McCarthy said.

“We can provide more opportunities for students because we increased the amount of learning communities,” she said.

The program provides a convenient class schedule for its students and offers “priority” registration for Community of Academic Program classes.

Students also have assigned counselors and Supplemental Instructional Leaders.

In some cases, former Community of Academic Progress students return to work as Supplemental Instruction Leaders.

In the fall 2011 school semester 28 percent of Community of Academic Progress students returned to the program.

“The strongest compliments about our program is the word of mouth recommendations,” McCarthy said. “I hear all the time that students are interested in being part of the CAP program because another student them about it.”

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