What do we mean by community? For students, this might be their immediate learning community – other students on their course, or with whom they share a particular interest or characteristic (perhaps a postgraduate or international student community).
But they will interact with the local community outside of their college or university as well: some will be studying locally to their homes and families so might be embedded within the local community and others will be developing relationships
as learners who are living near their institutions for part of the year and are part of another community, in a different part of the UK or a different country, at other times. Some may be remote from their institution, studying at a distance,
which gives another experience of being part of a learning community.
Partnerships go two ways, and members of a local community will also have a relationship with a college or university and its learners, whether that is because an institution is local or because there are learners within the community but at a distance
from their institution.
When they are successful, community partnerships can be enormously enriching for everyone, but what does that look like and how can community partnerships be built and strengthened for the enhancement of the student learning experience?