Building Online Learning Communities: Effective Strategies for the Virtual Classroom

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John Wiley & Sons, Jul 20, 2007 - Education - 292 pages
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Building Online Learning Communities further explores the development of virtual classroom environments that foster a sense of community and empower students to take charge of their learning to successfully achieve learning outcomes. This is the second edition of the groundbreaking book by Rena Palloff and Keith Pratt and has been completely updated and expanded to include the most current information on effective online course development and delivery. A practical, hands-on guide, this resource is filled with illustrative case studies, vignettes, and examples from a wide variety of successful online courses. The authors offer proven strategies for handling challenges that include:
  • Engaging students in the formation of an online learning community.
  • Establishing a sense of presence online.
  • Maximizing participation.
  • Developing effective courses that include collaboration and reflection.
  • Assessing student performance.

Written for faculty in any distance learning environment, this revised edition is based on the authors many years of work in faculty development for online teaching as well as their extensive personal experience as faculty in online distance education. Rena M. Palloff and Keith Pratt share insights designed to guide readers through the steps of online course design and delivery.

 

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This textbook is easily three times larger than it needs to be do to repetitious coverage (filler!). While the topic matter is significant and relevant, the authors tend to over-emphasize and overstate far too much - to the point where it starts to read more like a "For Dummies" book than anything remotely academic. It's also unclear throughout most of the book just what age/maturity level the book's advocacy of online communities is being addressed. I would have appreciated a textbook that was more to the point and fewer strained attempts at supporting what remains to be arguable opinion.  

Contents

When Teaching and Learning Leave the Classroom
7
Online Issues and Concerns
10
Students Online
12
Making the Transition and Establishing Presence
14
The Search for Knowledge and Meaning in the Online Classroom
19
Putting the Pieces Together
21
New Approaches New Skills
23
Implications
26
Constructing the Online Course Site
148
If You Build It Will They Come?
154
Final Thoughts
157
Evaluating an Effective Online Course
158
Promoting Collaborative Learning
161
Formulating a Shared Goal for Learning
163
Problems Interests and Experiences as Springboards for Learning
171
Dialogue as Inquiry
174

Recontextualizing Community
29
The Importance of Community
31
Community Online
32
The Element of Social Presence
34
Coalescense and Belonging Online
36
Recontextualizing Community
38
Community in the Virutal Classroom
43
Participation and Desired Outcomes in the Online Classroom
46
The Human Side of Online Learning
49
The Need for Human Contact
52
Connectedness and Coalescence
54
Shared Responsibility Rules and Norms
55
Roles and Participants
57
Other Psychological Issues
59
Ritual as the Psychological Expression of Community
60
Spiritual Issues
62
Culture and Language Issues
64
Vulnerability Ethics and Privacy
65
Final Thoughts
68
Practical Considerations in Online Learning
71
Group Size
85
Cost and Other Adminstrative Issues
88
Online Security
91
Managing the Relationship to Technology
93
The Relationship of Person to Machine
95
Technology as a Facilitative Tool
100
Excuse Us We Are Now Experiencing Technical Diffulties
105
Moving Teaching and Learning Online
109
Roles and Functions of the Instructor in the Online Classroom
111
The Role of the Learner in the Learning Process
123
The Hybrid Course and Online Community
129
Teaching and Learning in the Virtual Learning Community
131
Building Foundations
133
Encouraging Expansive Questioning
175
Sharing Responsibility for Facilitation
177
Promoting Feedback
180
Intergroup and Other Forms of Collaboration
184
Final Thoughts
187
Transformative Learning
189
The Process of Transformative Learning in the Online Classroom
191
Learning About Learning Through the Use of Technology
196
Creating Opportunities to Encourage Reflection on the Differences
198
Learning About Technology by Using It
199
Encouraging Questions and Comments About the Technology
200
SelfReflection
202
We Are the Experts When It Comes to Our Own Learning
206
Guiding Questions to Promote Tranformative Learning
207
Student Assessment and Course Evaluation
209
Student Performance
210
Course Evaluation
220
Program Evaluation
224
Final Thoughts
228
Questions to Consider in Student Course and Program Evaluation
229
Lessons Learned and a Look Ahead
231
The Six Essential Elements
232
Community
235
Unresolved Issues and Unaswered Questions
236
Lessons Learned and a Look to the Future
238
Extending Community Beyond the Classroom
238
Implications for Instructor Training
239
Examples of Course Syllabi
241
Glossary of Terms Used in Online Learning
273
Internet Resources for Distant Education
277
References
279
Index
287
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About the author (2007)

Rena M. Palloff, Ph.D., and Keith Pratt, Ph.D. are the managing partners of Crossroads Consulting Group. They are the authors of Building Learning Communities in Cyberspace, Collaborating Online, Lessons from the Cyberspace Classroom, and The Virtual Student, all from Jossey-Bass.

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