If You Build It, They Will Come: Student Clubs in the Digital World

If You Build It, They Will Come: Student Clubs in the Digital World

Elizabeth Donnellan (Purdue University Global, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9814-5.ch014
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Students attending traditional or online universities will benefit from membership in student-run virtual clubs. This chapter provides specific information about tools used to create, administer, and motivate participation in virtual university clubs. To enhance the club experience, suggestions are offered for creating interactive clubrooms, utilizing specific social media tools, and providing unique club events all as a virtual experience. A case study is included to demonstrate how students of a major online university participate in virtual club events. Results of this case study indicate a correlation between students who can easily access club tools and events with participation. Further, students who participate in clubs report greater satisfaction with their overall university experience and increased confidence in professional skills.
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With the advent of online learning, students and their professors worked together to create learning communities in their classrooms. Most universities grappled with how to create authentic learning experiences in the abstract of virtual classrooms (Shea & Bidjerano, 2010; Smart & Cappel, 2006). To address this, many universities adopted a standard classroom structure that mimicked traditional classrooms. The structure of these classrooms included tools for collaborative learning such as discussion board, live chat areas (both synchronous and asynchronous), and areas for document storage (Zhu, 2012). Most universities who offer distance-learning classes purchase platform services from virtual learning companies who provide the framework for classroom shells. The arrangement of the components is selected and supported by these companies. Therefore, there is not much opportunity for rearranging course structure. Over time, online students and faculty gained comfort interacting within these conceptual spaces in the classroom despite their lack of control of the creation of it (Zhu, Valcke, & Schellens, 2008).

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