On Thursday, December 12, first year students in the aviation and engineering learning communities presented their end of semester projects. At Vaughn, a learning community is a cohort of students who take all of their courses during the semester together. This allows students to build teamwork skills and develop different disciplines that support a well-rounded education. The goal of the learning community is to challenge and develop first-year students through course loads, project assignments and faculty evaluation.

The showcase began with five groups of engineering students who worked collaboratively to build their projects and make them operational. The groups adapted their designs and goals for each project and made changes through case-by-case modifications and by troubleshooting issues. This allowed the students to efficiently work together towards a common goal emulating what the will encounter in the professional world.

The aviation learning community focused on various topics and issues in the industry. Students were able to practice and improve their overall communication and presentation skills. A majority of first-semester students begin college without the background knowledge of an oral communications course. Learning communities emphasize collaborative partnerships and help students link their academic work with interaction among each other and with faculty.

Learning communities have been shown to increase student retention and academic achievement, increase student involvement and enhance their collaborative skills.

“This was an impressive demonstration by many first year students,” said Dr. Edgar Troudt, associate vice president of academic affairs, who helped publicize the event. “The hard work of the teams was evident in their project presentations and we look forward to more of these showcases in the future.”