Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Themed Learning Community (TLC)?

A Themed Learning Community (TLC) consists of two or three courses taken in conjunction in order to examine a common theme across disciplines like the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. TLCs give students the opportunity to engage deeply with a course theme, connect learning across courses in collaborative and active ways, develop relationships with peers/faculty, and ease the transition into college.

Why should I enroll in a TLC?

Themed Learning Communities offer first-year students the chance to take two-to-three classes paired together and centered on a theme. Class size is small: each class is limited to 25 students. A Peer Leader assists students with test preparation, study skills, etc. and faculty work with students on a one-on-one basis. Check out other reasons to enroll in a TLC too!

Is there a TLC for me?

We have many options for students to choose from! TLC themes range from psychology, pre-med, and engineering to political science and health sciences. Check out all our TLC options for Fall 2015.

Are there opportunities for hands-on learning outside the classroom?

Yes, some TLCs take field trips to further learn topics around the theme. Some TLCs bring in guest speakers too!

What is a Peer Leader?

A Peer Leader is an upper-classmen student who works to assist students and faculty with the Themed Learning Community. Peer Leaders host weekly study sessions, and are available to help student with class work and test preparation.

Do I earn extra credits for participating in a TLC?

No, enrollment in a Themed Learning Community is voluntary is equivalent to enrollment in other undergraduate classes at NIU. Some TLCs are for students enrolled in the Honors Program at NIU, and lower-division Honors credit is given for those specific classes.

How do I enroll in a TLC?

There a few steps to enroll in a Themed Learning Community! Find a TLC that fits your major or area of interest, place all the TLC classes in your Shopping Cart on MyNIU, talk to your advisor at orientation, then enroll in the TLC on MyNIU! Find the steps on the How To Enroll page.

Do TLCs help first-year students transition to college?

MAP-Works is a survey based tool that will help assist students in establishing roots and developing positive habits in order to succeed at NIU. Freshmen and transfer students are invited to participate when the survey is launched in the first few weeks of the semester. Additional check-up surveys are launched throughout the semester. According to the data collected on students who participated in MAP-Works during the Fall 2012 semester, those who participated in TLCs indicated higher levels academic and social functioning at NIU compared to non-TLC students. (See charts below.)

How else do TLCs make an impact at NIU?

Check out the 2013-2014 TLC Annual Report to learn the many ways that Themed Learning Communities are impacting the NIU campus year round!

Mapworks Chart 1
Mapworks Chart 2

Do TLCs help students develop academically and socially in their first year at NIU?

Themed Learning Communities provide students with the opportunity to develop new friendships because of the amount of time spent together, but TLCs also assist first-year students with academic development. TLCs help students develop their ability to take responsibility for their own learning, seek out useful resources on campus, and utilize what they learned in another class. (See charts below.)   

TLC Data Chart 1
TLC Data Chart 2