Integrative Learning: Opportunities to Connect

July 2006 ILP Snapshot

The Institution

Serving more than 12,000 students each semester, College of San Mateo (CSM) is located mid-way between San Francisco and Silicon Valley in the heart of the San Francisco Bay Area. Its students, typical of California community college students, are on average older, less affluent, and more ethnically and racially diverse than students at most baccalaureate universities. CSM employs 180 full-time faculty.

CSM Homepage

Food for Thought
Food for Thought

Disseminating and Expanding Our Work

CSM faculty have been disseminating their work at various conferences and colleges and submitting proposals to expand integrative learning in new formats The following links allow you to see materials developed for these presentations and proposals:

Creating a Monograph Proposal

WAC Proposal

Tools for Thought PowerPoint, Part 1

Tools for Thought PowerPoint, Part 2

Tragedy of the Commons PowerPoint


Michael C. Burke (Project Leader), Professor of Mathematics

Jean Mach, Professor of English

Dr. Jeremy Ball, Professor of Philosophy

The Project

Over the three years of the project, CSM significantly expanded and institutionalized its learning communities program, tackling needed work in the key areas of integration of instruction and student support services, recruitment of new faculty, promotion of integrative learning across the campus, development of assessment instruments, and dissemination of our work to the college and beyond. In addition to our offerings of paired courses (our original learning community model), we developed a new learning community model, which we call the confluence model. We have also realized that writing seems to be an essential component of integrative learning, and so we are embarking on a Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) program. Integrative learning now permeates our thinking and curricular decisions at the college.

Our Original Action Plan
This document explains what we set out to do. We encountered a few problems along the way, but ended up doing even more.

Student Voices

We have been monitoring our results through a variety of instruments, including student surveys, reflective writing, and longitudinal studies. The following links provide samples from these results:

Student Reflective Writing
Here is a final piece of reflective writing one student did in a Paired Course LC

Longitudinal Studies
Here is a PowerPoint that presents a comparative study of success rates of LC mathematics students through the sequence of required math classes

More Student Comments
Here are student survey responses from a Confluence Model LC

Student Comments
Here are some student remarks from a Paired Course LC

Our Products: Curricular Accomplishments and Innovations

During the ILP project, we focused on developing a rich array of integrative learning opportunities for our students. They include Paired Course Learning Communities (our original learning community model), Confluence Model Learning Communities (our new model), and our Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) program. A listing of our integrative learning offerings follows.

Click on the links to see additional information, syllabuses, assignments, and more.

Paired Course Learning Communities

ASSET Development

Writing in the End Zone I and II

Keys to the Kingdom

My United States of ... Whatever

Social Justice? Understanding Problems and Solutions in the New Millennium

Contemporary American Topics

Tools for Thought: Using Math and English to Explore Contemporary Issues

Confluence Model Learning Communities

The "Tragedy of the Commons" Learning Community

Philosophy and Psychology in Contemporary Films

Creating a Monograph: A Visual Arts Learning Community

What the Fork? The Many Facets of Food


We have begun planning for a pilot program of WAC classes, supported by a WAC Coaching Team, e-portfolios, and Faculty Forums. The WAC program was launched in Spring 06.