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Building Community in an Online Learning Environment: Communication, Cooperation and Collaboration


Mid-South Instructional Technology Conference,


This paper presents strategies and rationales for implementing certain instructional techniques to move a class from cohort to community. The context is the new Distance Master's program in Instructional Systems Technology at Indiana University. The authors give suggestions for instructional and non-instructional strategies that have students interacting at the levels of communication, cooperation, and collaboration. Instructional strategies include: ways of presenting material; assignment design; team management; content covered; and strategies for discussion material. Non-instructional strategies include: creating a computer support system so that students look beyond the technology; making reserve readings and other library resources readily available to distance students; designing an onsite orientation that encourages students to quickly bond with each other at the beginning of the program; creating an online cafe for off-topic discussions; and dealing with team/class disputes. These strategies are cross-indicated with their intended outcomes, i.e., strengthening the feeling of community as defined by a set of characteristics. Suggestions for evaluation techniques are also presented, as are questions for further research. (Contains 55 references.) (Author/MES)


Misanchuk, M. & Anderson, T. (2002). Building Community in an Online Learning Environment: Communication, Cooperation and Collaboration. Presented at Mid-South Instructional Technology Conference 2002. Retrieved January 22, 2020 from .

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