Building Relationship Through Learning Communities and Participation in Online Learning Environments: Building Interactions in Online Learning

Building Relationship Through Learning Communities and Participation in Online Learning Environments: Building Interactions in Online Learning

Victoria M. Cardullo (Auburn University, USA) and Megan Burton (Auburn University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9582-5.ch018
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Abstract

With the increase demand for distance education, institutions of higher education are actively exploring opportunities to weave self, subject and students for web based distance education. The pedagogical skills necessary to create effective active learning opportunities are explored throughout this chapter as well as lessons learned from research. The authors used vignettes to position effective course design and implementation aligned with both Bloom's Taxonomy and the SAMR (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification, Redefinition) model to enhance online learning environments. Learning objectives and course goals provided direction for developing task for social presence, cognitive presence and a collaborative stance in authentic online learning.
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Introduction

Good teachers join self, subject, and students in the fabric of life… Palmer, 1999, p. 11

This quote is as true in an online learning environment as it is in the traditional brick and mortar classroom. In essence, “All education-face- to-face, distance mode, online- requires understanding the nature of the medium in order to conceptualize and design it as an educational environment” (Harasim, 1995, p 138). Due to the increase demand for distance education, institutions of higher education are actively exploring opportunities to weave self, subject and students for web-based distance education. These institutions are often faced with challenges such as technological knowledge, pedagogical knowledge, student knowledge, and content knowledge (Wilson, Zygouris-Coe, Cardullo, & Fong, 2013). These challenges are often compounded by faculty members’ busy schedules, lack of technology and preconceived notions and attitudes. Beyond simply offering online course work, instructors need to know how to set up the online format effectively to present opportunities for student involvement through collaborative discussion, video chats, Wiki pages, Twitter, and blogs to name a few. The pedagogical skills necessary to create effective active learning opportunities will be explored through this chapter. This chapter includes lessons learned from research, vignettes of effective course designs and implementations, and ideas about emerging technologies, and how they can enhance online learning environments.

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Selecting Emerging Technology

When preparing to teach a course online, critical emphasis should be placed on the skills required for creating and facilitating effective online course work as well as the issues and ways the course may change for students. For example, it is important for instructors to implement activities that allow students to analyze and utilize critical thinking through emerging technologies such as blogs or Twitter. Often these emerging technologies require the user to assemble and analyze information differently, defying the typical notion of a static text. In a recent listserve discussion (EDUCAUSE, January, 2015) a faculty member was soliciting thoughts on a “good” cloud-based social network platforms that could facilitate substantive organic communication and collaboration amongst past, present, and future students. Many faculty members offered descriptions of the platforms. Table 1 presents a snapshot of the suggestions.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Social Presence: The degree of interaction and visibility between oneself and others in a social network.

Pedagogical Content Knowledge: The interaction between the teaching process and content knowledge.

Instructional Modules: An instructional module is a self-contained unit that focuses on a specific learning goal or instructional focus. It usually contains documents, multi-media experiences, discussion boards, and information for the student and groups to use.

Social Network Platforms: Technology that provides the ability to develop and manage social media sources, services, and resources.

Bloom’s Taxonomy: A tool used for classification of different levels of teaching and learning goals.

SAMR Model: A model design used to help teachers align technology and learning.

Active Learning: Defined as any instructional method that engages students in the learning process.

Emerging Technologies: Tools, concepts and advancements utilized in diverse educational settings to serve a variety of education related purposes.

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