Peer Learning and Social Interactions in an Asynchronous Learning Environment

Peer Learning and Social Interactions in an Asynchronous Learning Environment

Angela T. Ragusa (Charles Sturt University, Australia)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-984-7.ch096
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Abstract

This chapter explores how Internet-based asynchronous communication forums utilized in teaching undergraduate courses affect social interactions and student satisfaction. Drawing from an analysis of qualitative data, such as student and teachers’ perceptions, this case study reveals four key factors that affect learner satisfaction: (1) trust of people and technology, (2) awareness of how technicallymediated interactions differ from face-to-face interactions, (3) peer-based learning opportunities, and (4) integration of relevant learning materials and opportunities for social engagement. The findings suggest that when asynchronous forums are used as the principle vehicle for communication and learning, students feel less socially isolated, report a sense of belonging, and positively evaluate learning outcomes. The case study identifies asynchronous electronic forums as an effective tool for peer learning and social interactions among upper-level distance education students in Australia.

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