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Community Without Compromise: Cultivating Interactivity in Online and Blended Learning Environments. Tracy W. Smith and Emory Maiden Appalachian State University. http:// www.flickr.com/photos/cimmyt/8208414962. Survey Activity.
Tracy W. Smith and Emory Maiden
Appalachian State University
Psychological distance, or rather lack of community, in the online learning environment, can result in student isolation, frustration, boredom, overload, and low course completion rates
(Hara & Kling, 2000; Northrup, 2002; Rovai et al., 2005).
Ascough (2007), Cho, Gay, Davidson, and Ingraffea (2007), as well as Pate, Smaldino, Mayall, and Luetkehans (2009) found that creating online social communities creates an encouraging environment of shared activities that results in deeper learning, higher final course grades, and successful online courses.
Functioning in a community can enhance learning, improve academic success, and contribute to persistence in higher education (Hargis, 2005; Kember, 1987; Powers & Mitchell, 1997; Shea, Sau Li, & Pickett, 2006). Yuen (2003) asserts that a learning community can help individual learners “achieve what they cannot on their own” (p. 155).
A psychological and communication space to be crossed. If learning outcomes in distance education are to be maximized, transactional distance needs to be minimized or shortened.
“I believe that the main objective in either teaching environment is for the subject matter to be so inspirational, exciting, and challenging that students think about it beyond the time in class, whether on campus or online” (Bender, p. 9).
Clear expectations and procedures
Interaction with classmates and instructor
“…the professor has done a great job at having a voice in our conversations”
“design of the course makes sure we all interact with each other”
“great way to have virtual conversations with my peers”
“There was NO participation…I could have gotten the same information reading the book on my own.”
“No communication, unorganized. Almost as if he forgot he had an online class.”
What is sacred to you about your teaching?
What does your best teaching look like?
What do you worry that you will have to compromise as more of your classes or class meetings go online?
CoI, a process model of online learning, represents the online educational experience as arising from the interaction of three presences: social presence, cognitive presence, and teaching presence.
At the heart of the CoI framework is the idea that community, critical reflection, and knowledge construction are integral to learning, especially online learning.
Cognitive presence- the extent to which learners are able to construct and confirm meaning through sustained personal reflection and shared discourse.
Each core element on its own is complex and multidimensional – and then the three together are interdependent. In a single activity, online teachers and students can exploit many aspects of the core elements to cultivate a sense of community.