Did We Become a Community? Multiple Methods for Identifying Community and Its Constituent Elements in Formal Online Learning Environments

Did We Become a Community? Multiple Methods for Identifying Community and Its Constituent Elements in Formal Online Learning Environments

Richard A. Schwier (University of Saskatchewan, Canada) and Ben Daniel (University of Saskatchewan, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-963-7.ch109
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Abstract

To understand the nature of formal virtual learningcommunities in higher education, we are employing a variety of user-centred evaluation approaches to examinemethods for determining whether a community exists, andif it does, to isolate and understand interactions among itsconstituent elements, and ultimately to build a model offormal virtual learning communities. This chapter presents the methods we are employing to answer these seemingly simple questions, including user perceptions of community(Sense of Community Index, Classroom Community Scale), interaction analysis (density, reciprocity,) content analysis (transcript analysis, interviews, focus groups), paired-comparison analysis (Thurstone scaling) and communitymodeling techniques (Bayesian Belief Network analysis).

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