Empire State College believes that the student's individual purposes, interests, plans and abilities must be taken clearly into account as learning contracts and degree programs are planned and implemented. This belief provides the basic rationale for the college's primary mode of study, the individualized learning contract. The college also recognizes that much significant learning occurs through group interaction and that students should be encouraged to enrich and enlarge their individual efforts through participation in courses at other colleges and universities, in workshops and seminars offered by employers, professional associations, community organizations, cultural institutions and other organizations. In addition, the college sponsors study groups, which allow students to share insights gathered from readings, writings and field experiences with fellow students and others.
At Empire State College, group learning experiences are intended for the development of outcomes and competencies that are enhanced by group participation and interaction during the learning process. Study groups provide an opportunity to increase students' individual competencies and to see one another as important learning resources. The overarching purpose of study in a group is to facilitate the development of skills and competencies for the individual student not accomplished as effectively or appropriately in a one-to-one setting. Students are encouraged to take the initiative in organizing study groups.
Study groups also provide an important opportunity for faculty development by giving faculty a forum to develop or experiment with new areas of mentoring expertise alone or in concert with other mentors, to experiment with multidisciplinary approaches to a topic, to learn more about different student learning styles and to provide variation in teaching style from mentored independent study.
Empire State College study groups are unlike classes offered by other colleges and universities. Study groups are structured around independent study activities supplemented by group meetings.
The principles described below maintain the college's emphasis on the individual student's learning and on helping each student discover and make use of the diverse resources available through the college and the community. These principles guide the development, use and context of study groups as learning opportunities at Empire State College.
Learning Contract Study