Kiva Microloans in a Learning Community: An Assignment for Interdisciplinary Synthesis

Susan K Staats, Alfonso Sintjago, Renata Fitzpatrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Learning communities can strengthen early undergraduates' learning, but planning them can be daunting for instructors. Learning communities usually rely on integrative assignments that encourage interdisciplinary analysis. This article reports on our experiences using microloans as an interdisciplinary assignment in a learning community that united algebra with world literature. Students used the microfinance website www. kiva. org to make small loans of real money to entrepreneurs in low-income countries. Four themes emerged from student reaction to the assignment: awareness of Africa, community impact, mathematical consciousness, and productive collaboration among students. Our reflections suggest that microfinance assignments may support integrative learning across many other disciplines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-187
Number of pages15
JournalInnovative Higher Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • Algebra
  • Interdisciplinarity
  • Learning communities
  • Literature
  • Microloans


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