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Integrating Learning Communities and Distance Education: Possibility or Pipedream?

ABSTRACT

As demands for accountability continue and increase, higher education administrators require tools for evaluating campus programs. Learning communities, as a course design strategy, have proven successful in confronting challenges associated with attrition and retention. Because high attrition is associated with online distance education, learning community principles might be applicable to online courses. The authors surveyed attendees at a learning communities conference to determine the applicability of learning community principles to Internet learning and assessment. On the basis of their findings, they developed a rudimentary diagnostic tool for ascertaining whether online course design takes learning community principles into account.

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Correspondence to David DiRamio.

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David DiRamio is Assistant Professor of Higher Education Leadership at Auburn University. He received both B.S. and M.B.A. degrees from the State University of New York at Buffalo and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. David's research interests include studying technology's impact on postsecondary education from administrative, legal, and policy perspectives. Mimi Wolverton is Program Coordinator and Professor of Higher Education Leadership at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She received a B.S. from Northern Illinois University, an M.B.A. from Arizona State University, and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Arizona State University. Her research interests include academic deans, women and minorities in leadership, and elite M.B.A. programs. E-mail: diramio@auburn.edu.

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DiRamio, D., Wolverton, M. Integrating Learning Communities and Distance Education: Possibility or Pipedream?. Innov High Educ 31, 99–113 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10755-006-9011-y

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KEY WORDS

  • learning communities
  • distance education
  • online teaching and learning