Membership in a Learning Community

Communities are, in essence, places where members are bonded to one another by mutual commitments and special relationships, where they share a set of ideas and values that they feel compelled to follow.              —Thomas Sergiovanni, “Small Schools, Great Expectations”

From the time they are born, people learn from others—long before they are aware of it. In many cultures, small family units gradually widen into larger communities, including communities of formal education that include teachers and independent scholars. In addition, within these larger communities, people often join smaller communities, such as sports teams, organizations, and informal friendship groups. As people progress through higher education, they make additional conscious choices about the communities of which they become a part, including those specifically geared toward learning and growth.

As a DBA independent scholar at Walden, you are not alone. You have made a conscious, self-directed decision to become part of the Walden learning community. Of course, at times it may be tempting, as you sit at your computer, to think of your pursuit of your degree as a solitary effort. It will take conscious commitment to engage as an active member who both learns from and contributes to a learning community.

As you watch and listen to others talk about the experience of being part of the Walden learning community and attending residency, reflect on the opportunities and responsibilities that exist for you. Consider your support strategy as you prepare your analysis.

To prepare for this Discussion, review this week’s readings and view the media “Being Part of a Learning Community and Attending Residency.” Also, listen to the insights offered by Walden DBA independent scholars in the interactive media piece “Voices of DBA Students.” Focus on the students’ explanations of what it means to be a part of the Walden learning community and their descriptions of their residency experience. Consider the week’s literature, along with your SWOT analysis, and assess your support needs.

By Day 3

Post an analysis of your role in your new learning community, including the support you require to complete your doctoral degree. In your analysis, be sure to do the following:

· Detail the steps you will take to establish your role in your new learning community.

· Categorize by your goals the individuals that are or will become members of your learning community.

· Assess how these individuals will support you in achieving your goals.

· Evaluate when and how you will reach out to your learning community to share your goals and needs.

· Identify challenges to building your learning community.

· Analyze your goals for residency—in particular, what you hope to contribute and what you hope to gain from spending time with others in your learning community.

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