Promoting Online Learning Community with Identity Transparency
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This book chapter is a synthesis of several empirical user studies of online learners enrolled in degree-earning educational programs. Our findings are drawn from interviews with both online students and instructors, regarding their perceptions and strategies of fostering an online community of learners. In contrast to traditional formal education that takes place in a residential campus, or informal learning communities that are often light-weight and transient, we have been studying the nature and role of community within the growing arena of online education. In this chapter, we present and discuss our findings from multiple standpoints, offering design implications that might help designers of information systems to support socially mediated learning experiences, especially with regards to online students’ identity cues.
KeywordsOnline community Online learning Social connections
We thank the many students of World Campus who responded to the survey, and instructors who either participated in our interview study, or helped recruit participants in their classes. This research was partially supported by a Research Initiation Grant from Penn State’s Center for Online Innovation and Learning, and by the College of Information Sciences and Technology.
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