Learning Communities (LC) at Lake Washington Institute of Technology, consist of two classes that are linked together. Courses that are part of the Learning Communities program allow students to collaborate on assignments and projects while completing syllabi requirements toward each course during the same quarter.
LWTech students must enroll in both classes that make up the Learning Community.
I-BEST is a specific kind of Learning Community that allows students to enroll in both basic skills and college classes. I-BEST may be a LC made up entirely of I-BEST students, or may be included within a larger cohort of students (both I-BEST and non-I-BEST students).
In an I-BEST classroom, there are two instructors: a content instructor and a basic skills instructor. The basic skills instructor is in the content course 50% of the time. The benefit of this second instructor is infinite. Team teaching can be done by both instructors. The class could be divided into groups with two instructors circulating and helping the students. The basic skills instructor can be the voice of the I-BEST student and request clarification of terms being taught, point out important vocabulary, repeat difficult terminology, and be in the classroom as an extra resource for the I-BEST students.
There is an additional three credit class and is taught by the basic skills instructor.
This course must be taken by an I-BEST student.
Most Learning Communities, and all I-BEST LC, also include an “accelerated learning” feature. Accelerated learning can be found in certain sections of English, Math, Adult Basic Education, and English as a Second Language. Accelerated learning classes are usually found in I-BEST or Learning Communities courses, but some of them stand alone and are marked with "AC" as their section code.
In accelerated learning sections, students have an opportunity to advance through different levels based upon whether they meet course objectives—in other words, students have the opportunity to bypass a level, saving time and money. For example, an English class may have students who are registered for ENGL 93, ENGL 100, or ENGL 101 all in the same classroom. Students in the class are given the course outcomes for each level and, at about week eight of the quarter. The instructor meets individually with each student to discuss whether the student has met the course outcomes for the level the student is registered. In many cases, students have already met the outcomes for a higher level. If this is the case, the instructor re-registers the student for the level that the student will pass that quarter. Students who were originally registered for ENGL 93 could find themselves finishing ENGL 100, and it will say on their transcripts that they completed ENGL 100 instead of ENGL 93.
Learning Communities, accelerated learning, and I-BEST environments can be independent of one another. A LC doesn’t have to be an I-BEST class. An accelerated learning classroom doesn’t have to be in a LC. However, in the I-BEST program, these three can exist in the same classroom.