Creating Community Through Co-Constructing Expectations in Graduate Coursework

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David Marshall


            Many of the interpersonal issues that arise during a graduate-level course are the result of a mismatch in expectations between the instructor and students, or between the students themselves. As part of an effort to intentionally build community and avoid these issues, I lead an exercise on the first day of every class I teach to co-construct the norms that dictate how the course is conducted. The activity helps to establish a common understanding of expectations for each member of the learning community and gives students a voice in the learning process on the very first day of class.

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