Reflections on the Notion of Community in Online Learning

ID: 20875 Type: Full Paper
  1. Priscilla Norton and Dawn Hathaway, George Mason University, United States

Tuesday, March 4 1:15-1:45 PM Location: Capri 116

Presider: Mary Kayler, University of Mary Washington, United States

Abstract: Community in online environments is often mentioned as a necessary condition for learning. To promote community, the authors offered a course forum, “Harp and Dwell,” where teacher-learners could build community if they chose. Using an action research approach, the authors analyzed the “Harp and Dwell” in two ways: quantitatively to summarize each group’s use of the forum and qualitatively to identify themes, similarities, and differences in each group’s use of the “Harp and Dwell.” Differences in the number of threads and follow up posts in the “Harp and Dwell” distinguished those groups who identified themselves as a virtual community from those that were mixed and working groups as well as a number of qualitative differences. The authors conclude the best approach may be to provide opportunities for community building without mandating it.


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