Case Study of the CUForum @ CUHK

Peter Jakubowicz (The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 258
EISBN13: 9781613500163|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-942-7.ch017
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In contrast to the formal school setting where learning is often linear, structured and controlled (be it online or face-to-face), for the ‘net generation,’ (Google, MySpace, MSN, YouTube and Yahoo) learning is often incidental and a sense of ‘fun’ is frequently of great importance. Such students’ learning is often non-linear, unstructured and explained well by the tenets of Anderson’s theory of online learning. This research discusses the benefits of fostering non-linearity in an online learning environment. A case study of an online business communication course at a university in Hong Kong is used to illustrate the importance of non-linear online learning by demonstrating how participants in this course adopted learning approaches that are consistent with, and a reflection of, the theory of online learning. Qualitative data from complete sets of online communication (including focus group interviews) collected over a one-semester, tertiary level course conducted at a university in Hong Kong are analyzed. The findings show that Chinese-speaking learners’ online interactions, categorized into three broad areas (cognitive, affective and social), demonstrate that interactivity is a key feature of an online learning environment. Its nature is exposed and discussed, not least the finding that for the participants in this study, learning was incidental and a sense of ‘fun’ was important. The study suggests ways in which online theory can contribute to, as well as help in, understanding this phenomenon and makes recommendations for future research.
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