Creating a Sense of Community of Learning

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Creating a Community of Learning in a Masters level Christian Communication Course OnlineCreating a Community of Learning in a Masters level Christian Communication Course Online Kelly Elander, Ph.D., Asst. Professor of Communication, Harding UniversityIntroductionCreating a sense of learning community inan online course is crucial for at least three reasons: It helps learners better engage in the course. It creates a richer, more compelling learning experience for the learners. It sets the stage for a community of practice. 1. It helps learners better engage in the course. Research and practice have identified two important theoretical tools for improving learning at a distance. Moores Transactional Distance Theory (Elander, 2015) Community of Inquiry model (Anderson, Rourke, Garrison, & Archer, 2001; Elander, 2015).Figure 1. Recently Revised Community of Inquiry Model (2.0) Recent revisions to the COI model have added an emotional presence. This diagram also shows the model with emotional dimension as well as the sources that promote each dimension (Anderson, 2014; Cleveland-Innes & Campbell, 2012; Elander, 2015; Elander, 2016; Rienties & Rivers, 2014; and Sorensen, 2004).Figure 2. VoiceThread Video Feedback ToolThis tool permits instructors, when accessing learner assignments in their LMS, to click an option using this third-party app to record very personal, human video feedback using their computer webcam and mic.2. It creates a richer, more compelling learning experience for the learners. Collaborative synergy can be manifested in at least two ways. Emotional cohesiveness Pooled team skills and creativity. Figure 3. Re-Conceptualization of the COI Model (2.1) This new re-conceptualization of the COI model (2.1) shifts from spheres of presence to quadrants and scales of measure suggesting another version of the original three phase COI model (Anderson, Rourke, Garrison, & Archer, 2001) and the recently revised four phase version (Anderson, 2014; Cleveland-Innes & Campbell, 2012; Elander, 2015; Elander, 2016; Rienties & Rivers, 2014; and Sorensen, 2004).Table 1 Some Free Synchronous Video Conferencing ToolsOnline Video Conference ToolNumber of Participantswww.join.me/videoUp to 5 peopleGoogle Hangouts Up to 10 peoplewww.oovoo.comUp to 12 peoplewww.skype.comUp to 25 peopleIf everyone involved has a web cam you can use free video conferencing tools. 3. It sets the stage for a community of practice.Part of connecting the learner to a community of practice would entail instructor comments, and references to industry resources and tools, creating authentic tasks or problems, and bringing established professionals into the classroom online.ReferencesAnderson, T.D., Rourke, L., Garrison, D.R., & Archer, W. (2001). Assessing teaching presence in a computer conferencing context. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 5(2). Available online at: http://www.aln.org/alnweb/ journal/jaln-vol5issue2v2.htmAstleitner, H.(2003). What do we know from experiential research? (Chapter 3) In N. Nistor, S. English, S. Wheeler, & M. Jalobeanu (eds.), Toward the virtual university: International online perspectives. In Perspectives in Instructional Technology and Distance Education Series. Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing, 37-63. Barab, S. A., & Duffy, T. M. (2000). From practice fields to communities of practice. In D. H. Jonassen & S. M. Land (eds.) Theoretical Foundations of Learning Environments, Mahweh, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum, 25-55.Bonk, C. J., & Khoo, E. (2014). Adding some TEC-Variety: 100+ activities for motivating and retaining learners online. Bloomington, IN: Open World Books.Brindley, J. E., Walti, C., & Blaschke, L. M. (2009). Creating effective collaborative learning groups in an online environment. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 10(3). ReferencesElander, K. R. (2015), The Role of E-collaboration in E-learning: Why E- collaboration is Crucial. In A. Kok & H. Lee (eds.)Cultural, Behavioral, and Social Considerations in Electronic Collaboration. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.Elander, K. R. (2016), Im Here for You.: Instructor Presence Online. In S. DAgustino (ed.), Creating Teacher Immediacy in Online Learning Environments. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.Erdem Aydin, I., & Gumus, S. (2016). Sense of classroom community and team development process in online learning. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, 17(1), 60-77.Harasim, L. (2012). Learning theory and online technologies. NY: Routledge.Herrington, A. & Herrington, J. (2008). What is an authentic learning environment? In A. Herrington and J. Herrington (eds.), Authentic Learning Environments in Higher Education. Hershey, PA: IGI Global, 1-14.Herrington, J., Reeves, T. C., & Oliver, R. (2010). A guide to authentic e-learning. New York: Routledge.Kirschner, P. A., Kreijns, K., Phielix, C., & Fransen, J. (2015). Awareness of cognitive and social behaviour in a CSCL environment.Journal of Computer Assisted Learning,31(1), 59-77.ReferencesKreijns, K., Kirschner, P. A., & Jochems, W. (2003). Identifying the pitfalls for social interaction in computer-supported collaborative learning environments: A review of the research. Computers in Human Behavior, 19, 335-353.Lombardi M. (2007) Authentic learning for the 21st century: An overview. Educause Learning Initiative, ELI Paper1/:2007. Available at: http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ ELI3009.pdf (last accessed 28 May 2008).Mehradbian, A. (1969). Methods and designs: Some referents and measures of non verbal behavior. Behavior Research Methods & Instrumentation, 1(6), 203- 207.Ramage, A. (2010). Communities of practice real and virtual. In H. Donelan, K. Kear, M. Ramage (eds.) Online communication and collaboration: A reader. London: Routledge, 176-178.Vakoufari, M., Christina, A., & Mavroidis, I. (2014). Self-esteem and loneliness as factors affecting distance learning students. European Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning, 17(2), 100.Wheeler, S. (2003). Web-based learning and transactional distance theory. In N. Nistor, S. English, S. Wheeler, & M. Jalobeanu (eds.), Toward the virtual university: International online perspectives. In Perspectives in Instructional Technology and Distance Education Series. Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing, 87-99. ReferencesWright, E. (October, 2013). Project team development and how to accelerate it. PM World Journal, (2)10, 1-7.Wright, R. (April 2009). Effective kickoff meetings. Internal Aditor, April 1 2009. Kelly Elander has a B.S. in Communication from Ohio University, a Master's in adult instruction and performance technology from the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. in instructional design for online learning from Capella University. He currently coordinates the web design and interactive media program at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas.