Evaluation: A Link in the Chain of Sustainability

Evaluation: A Link in the Chain of Sustainability

Frances Bell (University of Salford, UK), Elena Zaitseva (University of Salford, UK) and Danuta Zakrzewska (Technocal University of Lodz, Poland)
Copyright: © 2007 |Pages: 29
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-358-6.ch009
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Our emphasis in this chapter is on the sustainability of online educational communities, particularly the role that evaluation has to play in promoting sustainability. From the literature on online communities and evaluation of technology, we select and extend models of online community and technology acceptance that inform and enable the design and evaluation of sustainable online educational communities. Sustainability is a key issue that highlights the sociotechnical nature of these communities. Collaboration Across Borders is an online learning community that has received EU Socrates-Minerva funding to establish international collaboration between tutors and students and investigate sustainability of online learning communities. We present a case study of the development of the CAB community and its associated portal http://moodle.cabweb.net as a chronology of significant events. We then chart the evaluation process, using examples of tools and data to highlight the role of evaluation in the development of CABWEB and the sustainability of the CAB Community. Finally, we offer practical advice to those who wish to develop online learning communities, either small-scale collaborations between two groups of students or international networks of students and tutors.

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