Developing a Sense of Community in an Online Environment

By David Colachico.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

It is not easy to create a learning community in an online format unless it is planned and opportunities for interaction are specifically built into the online course. The stage has to be set for community to develop. This involves designing goals, providing feedback, and assessing outcomes. It is possible in an online environment to involve metacognition, to heighten one’s awareness of learning strategies, abilities and preferences. The planning of such opportunities must be specific in an online environment but should be deliberately designed as an integral part of an online program. Today more and more courses are being offered through distance learning or computer-assisted instruction. Many disciplines are exploring ways to offer degree or credential courses through online, web-based technology. This creates a challenge that is unique to online faculty and students—how can one communicate and interact with students online and they, in turn, with one another to create the type of learning community that enriches one’s experience? This workshop will display one format used to create a sense of community among online learners. It will demonstrate the use of techniques such as: Threaded Discussions, Chat Rooms, email, and Virtual Office Hours. It will also describe how a small group project can be designed to bring online students together for completion of an assigned task.

Keywords: Online Learning, Creating a Sense of Community in Online Courses, Teaching Techniques for Online Instruction

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp.161-166. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 528.505KB).

Dr. David Colachico

Director, Office of Faculty Development, Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, California, USA

David P. Colachico is Professor and Director of Faculty Development at Azusa Pacific University (Azusa, California). David has worked extensively in Special Education, K-12 education and Educational Administration. David has taught in both public education and higher education for over thirty years. David is the author of several books and articles including "Stress and Children with Disabilities," a chapter in Children and Stress: Understanding and Helping, a book written in reaction to the attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11. He is currently conducting research in the area of collaborative teaching as well as effective program change.

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