Skip to main content
Log in

Building classroom community at a distance: A case study

  • Research
  • Published:
Educational Technology Research and Development Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to analyze a five-week graduate-level education course taught entirely at a distance via the Internet using the Blackboard.comSM e-learning system, with emphasis on exploring the dynamics of sense of classroom community. Subjects were 20 adult learners, evenly divided between males and females, who were administered the sense of classroom community index at the beginning and end of the course in order to measure classroom community. Findings indicated that on-line learners took advantage of the “learn anytime” characteristics of the Internet by accessing the course seven days per week, 24 hours per day. Sense of classroom community grew significantly during the course. Females manifested a stronger sense of community than their male counterparts both at the start and end of the course. Additionally, female students exhibited a mostly connected communication pattern while the communication pattern of males was mostly independent.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Abrahamson, C.E. (1998). Issues in interactive communication in distance education.College Student Journal, 32(1), 33–43.

    Google Scholar 

  • Baxter-Magolda, M.B. (1992).Knowing and reasoning in college: Gender-related patterns in students' intellectual development. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

    Google Scholar 

  • Belenky, M., Clinchy, B., Goldberger, N., & Tarule, J. (1986).Women's ways of knowing. New York: Basic Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Blum, K.D. (1999). Gender differences in asynchronous learning in higher education: Learning styles, participation barriers and communication patterns.Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks,1(3). Retrieved April 18, 2001, from the World Wide Web:http://http://www.aln.org/alnweb/journal/Vol3_issue1/blum.htm

  • Brown, K.M. (1996). The role of internal and external factors in the discontinuation of off-campus students.Distance Education, 17(1), 44–71.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bruffee, K.A. (1993).Collaborative learning: Higher education, interdependence, and the authority of knowledge. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bryk, A.S., & Driscoll, M.E. (1988).The high school as community: Contextual influences and consequences for students and teachers Madison, WI: National Center on Effective Secondary Schools, University of Wisconsin. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 302 539)

    Google Scholar 

  • Bull, K.S., Kimball, S.L., & Stansberry, S. (1998).Developing interaction in computer mediated learning. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 417 902)

  • Comeaux, P. (1995). The impact of an interactive distance learning network on classroom communion.Communication Education, 44, 355–361.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cutler, R.H. (1996). Technologies, relations and selves. In L. Strate, R. Jacobson, & S.B. Gibson (Eds.),Communication and cyberspace: Social interaction in an electronic environment (pp. 317–333). Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dede, C. (1996). The evolution of distance education: Emerging technologies and distributed learning.American Journal of Distance Education, 10(2), 4–36.

    Google Scholar 

  • Etzioni, A. (1993).The spirit of community: Rights, responsibility, and the communitarian agenda. New York: Crown.

    Google Scholar 

  • Goodlad, J.L. (1996). Democracy, education, and community. In R. Soder (Ed.),Democracy, education, and the schools (pp. 87–96). New York: Jossey-Bass.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hare, A.P., & Davies, M.F. (1994). Social interaction. In A.P. Hare, H.H. Blumberg, M.F. Davies, & M.V. Kent (Eds.),Small group research: A handbook (pp. 169–193). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.

    Google Scholar 

  • Herring, S. (1996). Posting in a different voice. In C. Ess (Ed.)Philosophical perspectives on computer-mediated communication (pp. 115–145) New York: SUNY.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hill, J.L. (1996). Psychological sense of community: Suggestions for future research.Journal of Community Psychology, 24(4), 431–438.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hiltz, S.R. (1998).Collaborative learning in asynchronous learning networks: Building learning communities. Invited address at the WEB98 Conference, Orlando, Florida. Retrieved April 18, 2001, from the World Wide Web: http://eies.njit.edu/hiltz/collaborative_learning_in_asynch.htm

  • McMahon, T.A. (1997).From isolation to interaction? Network-based professional development and teacher professional communication. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, Il. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 408 257)

  • McMillan, D.W. (1996). Sense of community.Journal of Community Psychology, 24(4), 315–325.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • McMillan, D.W., & Chavis, D.M. (1986). Sense of community: A definition and theory.Journal of Community Psychology, 14(1), 6–23.

    Google Scholar 

  • Moore, M.G. (1972). Learner autonomy: The second dimension of independent learning.Convergence 5 (2), 76–88.

    Google Scholar 

  • Palloff, R.M., & Pratt, K. (1999).Building learning communities in cyberspace. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  • Preece, J. (2000).Online communities: Designing usability, supporting sociability. New York: Wiley & Sons.

    Google Scholar 

  • Putnam, R.D. (January 1995). Bowling alone: America's declining social capital.Journal of Democracy, 6, 65–78.

    Google Scholar 

  • Reingold, H. (1991).The virtual community. New York: Summit.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rice, R.E., & Love, G. (1987). Electronic emotion: Socioemotional content in a computer-mediated network.Communication Research, 14, 85–108.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rovai, A.P., & Lucking, R.A. (2000).Measuring sense of classroom community. Manuscript submitted for publication.

  • Vrasidas, C., & McIsaac, M.S. (1999). Factors influencing interaction in an online course.American Journal of Distance Education, 13 (3), 22–36.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Vygotsky, L. (1986).Thought and language. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wegerif, R. (1998). The social dimension of asynchronous learning networks.Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 2(1), 34–49.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wellman, B. (1999). The network community: An introduction to networks in the global village. In Wellman, B. (Ed.)Networks in the global village. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wellman, B., & Gulia, M. (1999). The network basis of social support: A network is more than the sum of its ties. In B. Wellman (Ed.),Networks in the global village (pp. 83118) Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Rovai, A.P. Building classroom community at a distance: A case study. ETR&D 49, 33–48 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02504946

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02504946

Keywords

Navigation