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