Online course delivery is rapidly growing among educational institutions all over the world, especially in Open and Distance Learning institutions. The frequent criticisms on distance education for having only limited interactions between teachers and students as opposed to traditional face to face teaching can be significantly minimized with the increased use of online methods, due to its unique instructional capabilities. Online learning provides ample opportunities for students learning at a distance to constantly interact with their teachers as well as peers, sharing experiences and working collaboratively. The creation of a sense of social presence is essential to establish a collaborative online learning environment, as it is a most important factor that helps people actively collaborate, thus increasing a sense of belonging to the learning community. The Faculty of Education of the Open University of Sri Lanka offered the online course, "Teacher Educator as an Educational Technologist" in December 2007, using the learning management system Moodle. The course was designed using a collaborative learning model, allowing adequate opportunities for the distant learners to actively engage in their learning process, engaging in a number of learning and assessment tasks with the support of learning resources and instructor guidance, while collaborating and sharing experiences among each other, mainly through discussion forums. Using the case study approach, an investigation was carried out to find out the specific strategies and techniques adopted by designers, instructors and students in enhancing community building among the participants in the online learning environment. It further explored the impact of community building on the distant learners, who were also novices to online learning. This paper discusses the development process in the building of an online learning community and emphasizes on the roles of designers, teachers, and learners.
Karunanayaka, S. (2008), "DESIGNING AN ONLINE LEARNING COMMUNITY AMONG TEACHER EDUCATORS", Asian Association of Open Universities Journal, Vol. 3 No. 2, pp. 71-82. https://doi.org/10.1108/AAOUJ-03-02-2008-B001
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