The Key Elements of Online Learning Communities

The Key Elements of Online Learning Communities

Jianxia Du (Mississippi State University, USA), Yunyan Liu (Southwest University, China) and Robert L. Brown (Mississippi State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-963-7.ch009
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An online learning community can be a place for vibrant discussions and the sharing of new ideas in a medium where content constantly changes. This chapter will first examine the different definitions that researchers have provided for online learning communities. It will then illuminate several key elements that are integral to onlinelearning communities: interactivity, in both its task-driven and socio-emotional forms; collaboration, which both builds and nurtures online communities; trusting relationships, which are developed primarily through social interaction and consist of shared goals and a sense of belonging or connectedness; and communication media choices, which impact the other three elements. This chapter also provides suggestions for the practical application of these elementsin the online classroom.

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