Learning Communities

About Learning Communities

The growth of any craft depends on shared practice and honest dialogue among the people who do it. We grow by trial and error, to be sure—but our willingness to try, and fail, as individuals is severely limited when we are not supported by a community that encourages such risks.
                                                                                                                                 —Parker Palmer, The Courage to Teach, 1998

A learning community is a cross-disciplinary group that engages in an active, collaborative program structured to provide learning opportunities, community building, and reflection.

The broad goals of the learning community program at Dartmouth are to:

  • Build a college-wide community through teaching and learning
  • Increase interest in teaching and learning
  • Investigate ways that diverse viewpoints can enhance teaching and learning
  • Nourish the scholarship of teaching and learning and its application to student learning
  • Increase collaboration across disciplines

Through their participation, members can expect to:

  • Increase their awareness of the range of evidence-based teaching and learning practices
  • Identify factors that influence pedagogical choices
  • Feel an increased sense of belonging to a community of scholar-educators
  • Increase their awareness of the range of resources and services to support teaching

Winter 2020 Learning Communities

Each learning community of 6-12 members spends a term focusing on a question, set of problems, or area of interest. Members deepen their knowledge in the chosen area by interacting on an ongoing basis through a series of seminars. Seminars take place on a bi-weekly basis, and may include reading relevant literature, discussing case studies or personal experiences, developing resources or other scholarship, attending events or conferences, and social gatherings. 

Applications for Winter 2020 are now closed. Stay tuned for Spring 2020 Learning Communities and contact [email protected] with any questions.


Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Reality
Are you interested in Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Reality in education? Join this learning community to share your experiences, hear from others, and explore the research on teaching and learning with these technologies. We will connect to campus resources and establish a network to support using these tools effectively in our own teaching and research.

Inclusive Teaching
As the identities and needs of Dartmouth students continue to evolve, so too do the demands on faculty and staff to adjust their practice in order to create a campus culture that values diversity. In this learning community, we will explore the practical aspects of inclusive education, and apply these principles in the context of our own courses, research, and community interactions. Possible discussion topics (to be chosen by the participants) include student accessibility, culturally responsive teaching, marginalized communities, first-generation college students, and universal design, among many more.

The Faculty-Student Relationship
A community of successful Dartmouth faculty reported recently that knowing and caring for one's students is the key to effective teaching. What successes and challenges have you found in relating to your students? What fosters these connections, and what hinders them? What do students need, and how can you find out? Join this learning community to explore the faculty-student relationship and its impact on teaching and learning.

Improving Classrooms
The physical environment, including the classrooms where we teach, have an impact on the type and quality of teaching and learning that happen there. Ideally, the classrooms we're assigned match well with our goals, but due to time and space constraints, this isn't often the case. While classroom renovations and redesigns are underway at Dartmouth, the trajectory is long, and the majority of classrooms remain suboptimal. How can we make the most of the spaces and systems we have in the meantime? How might articulating a common lexicon of teaching practices improve the classroom request process? How can we hack our learning spaces to maximize their potential? In this learning community, we'll tackle these questions and more as we continue to develop the Dartmouth Design Principles for Learning Spaces framework.


Contact DCAL for more information about the Winter 2020 Learning Communities.


These on-going learning communities gather periodically (often monthly) and have a mix of participants who attend regularly and those who may only come to a single session based on the topic.  Topics are usually brainstormed by the participants and chosen by the facilitators.   

Learning Community for Future Faculty
The LCFF was established to cultivate a community focused on teaching and learning amongst graduate students and postdocs. The focus of this group is to share the rewards and challenges of college teaching, while digging a bit deeper into best practices and techniques for teaching and related career development issues. Any grad student or postdocs can volunteer to facilitate.  The LCFF meets monthly and the topics and format are chosen by the participants. Contact Cindy Rosalbo for more information.

Teaching Science Seminar
Since 2006, the Teaching Science Seminar has provided a venue for science faculty to discuss issues concerning teaching and learning in the sciences. Teaching Science Seminar meets monthly during the term over lunch at DCAL. Meetings address various issues and topics related to teaching science, and are led by either Dartmouth faculty or invited speakers. Contact Cindy Rosalbo for more information.