Communities of Practice

Affinity Research Group (ARG)

The Affinity Research Group Model is a set of practices built on a cooperative team framework to support the creation and maintenance of dynamic and inclusive research groups. Students learn and apply the knowledge and skills required for research and cooperative work in an ARG. Members share a core purpose, and the research group is designed to emphasize the conscious and explicit development of students’ disciplinary knowledge, research abilities, and team skills. An ARG deliberately designs activities aimed toward developing students’ disciplinary knowledge, research abilities, and team skills. This model has been adopted across the country and in various disciplines.

Peer Led Team Learning (PLTL)

A proven strategy for retention, PLTL provides an active learning experience for students and creates leadership opportunities for undergraduates. The PLTL model engages teams of six to eight students in learning sessions guided by a peer leader. Peer leaders are select students who have performed well in the class and who have completed a leadership training. Outcomes for undergraduate students including improve their learning, developing team working skills, and refining problem-solving skills. The PLTL effort improves academic performance and retention in the “gatekeeper” courses (i.e., courses that limit a student from advancing in higher level courses and possibly the major).

Problem Solving (PS)

Professors from CAHSI created three problem ­solving (PS) courses over a period of two years. The courses were developed with consistent, deep collaboration with Google technical staff and software engineers, which included contribution of problems and challenges, and remote coaching and feedback to students. The one­ and two­ credit hour courses are designed to allow students more flexibility in their degree plans and to build students’ knowledge in problem solving, as well as in other critical areas, such as discrete mathematics and cyber­security vulnerabilities. The courses are: PS 1- Introduction to Problem Solving, PS2 -Computational Problem Solving, and PS 3-Algorithmic Problem Solving.