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Shaping your learning community at Cardiff

18 May 2021
Group of students working in team

What does Learning Community mean to you? In response to that question, you might be asking ‘what does learning community even mean?’ which is something we at Cardiff are working hard to answer.

Most universities define learning community as a sense of community which students and staff have within their learning environment (i.e., the University). But to help us understand how to improve your learning community, we first need to understand exactly what that means to you, our students. 

The results of March and April’s Cardiff Pulse shows that there is a real issue in students understanding what learning community means.  Various other data sources, including the National Student Survey (NSS) and the Students’ Union Speak Week, also highlight this as something we need to investigate. 

The Learning Community Partnership Project 

To address this issue, we have established a Learning Community Partnership Project.  

The partnership project consists of a Student Chair and a University staff member who work together to create a group and ensure its objectives are delivered. This project was launched in October 2020 and is looking to:

  • Understand the identity of a Learning Community for Cardiff University 
  • Look at School level Learning Communities within academic Schools and identify improvements  
  • Analyse student feedback to inform findings  
  • Assess Cardiff’s current provision of learning communities 
  • Look at the role of societies in developing Learning Communities    
  • Look at the role of academic Schools in developing Learning Communities  
  • Look at the potential for technology to support Learning Communities  

We started by working with the Student Champions to analyse existing student feedback by coding free-text comments provided by students about learning community for themes. This helped us understand student perceptions of learning community and allowed us to focus our attention and resources.
Based on the feedback, we were able to identify key themes which we used to inform a learning communities survey which you can now take part in, and we used the April Pulse to ask for your suggestions for improvement in this area.  

In the current context our sense of community feels different but once restrictions are lifted, we will need to think about our future sense of community. This project will continue over the next two years to help us build a strong community over time. 

We will combine all your feedback to get an understanding of the perception of learning community at Cardiff and will create set of recommendations for the 2021/22 academic year. We will review the impact of these changes in 2022/23.  

This will enable us to recommend improvements to your Schools and the wider University with regards to Learning Communities, informed by your feedback.

Get involved

If you’d like to get involved further, our survey is currently open and asks your opinions about what learning community means to you, take part here  

Keep an eye on our Cardiff Pulse feedback pages to stay up to date with changes we’re making across the University based on your feedback. 

Written by the CESI Student Engagement Team