Creating Mentored Virtual Micro-communities around Shared Goals

Kathryn Temple (English) · Round 3

Most Georgetown students are well-prepared, well-organized and well-motivated. The typical undergraduate arrives at Georgetown with highly developed skills as well as the ability to create supportive communities that foster group learning. However, some students on the Main Campus arrive with less than optimal preparation, less than optimal motivation and/or feel themselves to be outsiders. They lack immediate access to the kind of micro-community that can make or break their success in college.

This project, led by Principal Investigator Kathryn Temple, seeks to discover whether online micro-communities oriented around serious intellectual work could help these students achieve more and find more satisfaction in their intellectual work. The experiment has run over two semesters with half a dozen different student populations. Students tracked their academic work and practices online in a supportive community, had access to mentors, and received regular best practices “hacks” that offered advice on academic success. The project determined that although some undergraduates in the College seemed to benefit from the program, those who benefited most were older, returning students, veterans and graduate students. For more information about the project, see or contact Kathryn Temple.