Implementing Successful Online Learning Communities

Implementing Successful Online Learning Communities

Diane E. Beck (University of Florida, USA) and Sven A. Normann (University of Florida, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-963-7.ch027
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Abstract

In the last decade, the number of courses using onlinelearning has increased significantly and based on student demand; continued growth is projected. Although distancelearning is well accepted, when compared to traditional classroom learning, lower student satisfaction, higher student attrition, and concerns about quality have been reported (Rovai, 2002a; Rovai, 2002b). The absence of “community” has been associated with each of these issues and this has stimulated research about how tosuccessfully build a community in a virtual environment, to overcome these challenges. Successful online learningcommunities are also important for most blended learningcourses (Rovai & Jordan, 2004). Discussion boards and other tools are being increasingly used to supplement instruction during traditional classroom courses. Therefore, across most courses in higher education today it is imperative that faculty members know how to establish and sustain successful online learning communities. The goals of this article are to a) define “online learningcommunity” and delineate the factors that contribute to asuccessful learning community, b) review the evidence supporting the importance of a learning community in distance and online learning, and c) recommend strategies to promote achievement of a successful learningcommunity.

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