Cultivating Community in Online and Blended Learning Environments

Cultivating Community in Online and Blended Learning Environments

Tracy W. Smith (Appalachian State University, USA) and Emory Maiden III (Appalachian State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1624-8.ch059
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Abstract

The popularity of social media networking sites like Facebook and Twitter demonstrates how communities can develop and flourish in virtual spaces. How can higher education institutions and instructors leverage the power of community to enhance student learning without compromising the rigor that is foundational to the academy? Building on the scholarly literature and their own experiences teaching and providing faculty development in online and blended learning environments, the authors provide a rationale for cultivating community in online environments as well as provide descriptive cases of instructors who have effectively used a learning management system to cultivate vibrant learning communities in online and hybrid courses. They also offer multiple faculty development models for helping faculty develop a social, teaching, and cognitive presence in online environments.

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