Week 1: Activity Instructions
Develop and support online community by sharing an introduction and responding to other participants' introductions
Explore the "Community of Inquiry" model
- Recognize facilitation strategies that develop social and teaching presence
- Reflect and discuss strategies for initially engaging learners in an online learning community
One of the goals of the first week in this workshop is to get to know each other, share experiences and start to create a sense of community.
What do you think of when you hear the term “online community?” Do you have negative or positive reactions? When students and teachers first moved into online learning environments, many reported feeling a sense of isolation and “distance” from each other.
Many surveys of online students report common issues: students find it difficult to identify or understand course goals, requirements, and instructor expectations. They lament the loss of “real-time” feedback and often feel a lack of connection and support from the instructor. Over the years, researchers have found that students experience an improvement in actual and perceived learning when the online instructor strives to address these concerns and build online community.
The Community of Inquiry (COI) framework was developed by researchers at the University of Athabasca and used to support research and practice in online education. The COI framework identifies three main elements that help to create an online educational experience that engages students in deeper learning and critical thinking. The model illustrates a significant change in the roles of teacher and students - teachers step back from a purely “expert” role and spend more time facilitating social and environmental aspects of the course while students can take on more independent learning tasks and participate in the knowledge building and peer-to-peer learning that can take place.
We’ve given you some resources to help you explore ideas about the value of building online learning communities and the potential impact of “instructor presence” in helping learners to be successful in online environments. However, we’d like you first to introduce yourself to our course community and then draw on, and share, your personal experiences of online community.
*See the Course Schedule for due dates for all three activities below.
Activity 1 - Introduce yourself in the Introductions FlipGrid
- Share a little information about yourself - both personally and professionally - by posting an introduction in the FlipGrid tool that we've placed in this Week 1 section. Over the rest of the week, view and respond to some of your colleagues' introductions. (Note: If you do not have a webcam then you can still use FlipGrid to just post an audio (it will have a black screen) or we welcome you to alternatively post an introduction in the Building Online Community forum if you don't have audio capability either.)
Activity 2 - Describe your experiences with online learning communities
- Review the sample compilation
of ideas of online community and the Week 1: Overview - "Community
- Post in the Building Online Communities thread in the Building Online Community Forum a response to the following questions: What comes to mind when you hear the term 'online learning community? Have you experienced being part of, or building, an online community? You're welcome to add illustrations or images or even a brief audio/video recording to your post.
Activity 3 - Consider how instructors can support building online community
- Review the interactive "Creating an Educational Experience" (Community of Inquiry) and the list of Online Facilitation Skills and Strategies.
- Post ideas about instructor actions or statements that can support online community to "Instructor Roles in Building Online Community" thread in the Building Online Community Forum.