Learning Community Transitions in the First Year: A Case Study of Academic and Social Network Change
Author(s): Smith, R. A.
Citation: Smith, R. A. (2011). Learning Community Transitions in the First Year: A Case Study of Academic and Social Network Change. Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition, 23(2), 9-27.
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 first-year students form academic and social ties more quickly, although these levels were not sustained into the second semester.