Assessing Collaborative Efforts Module 3
What are the best measures for involving students to participate in an online community environment? Siemens (2009) states in his podcast “in a society where individual contributions are highly acknowledged, collaborative learning communities can be a challenge for many students”. Many students are unwilling to participate in discussions due to shyness/unfamiliar area, exhaustion, boredom, low self-esteem/confidence and disinterest- just to name a few. It seems that some students are more willing to participate in a small-group discussion than a whole-class discussion as I was with my first experience in online learning. Online learning should be a great learning experience where all students are actively involved and become at ease with the process and expectations asked of them.
So the question is; how do you get everybody to participate equally in an online community? I think the basics are to include, scholarliness, encouragement towards each other, being truthful and reliable, and frequent interaction. Frequent interaction would not only encourage others to contribute more but it will also enhance their learning skills.
In an online learning community, you must make an honest effort to communicate with others in order to actively exist in the virtual world. However, considerations must be well planned for learners to shape the participation level, both in structure (number/kind of postings) and in content (organizing the discussion of subjects interesting to them). I believe instructors who purposefully design learning activities to create opportunities for students to learn about each other, decreases transactional distance and increases social presence are likely to improve learners’ sense of classroom community.
Siemens (2009) concurs that the greatest way to involve participation in a learning community is to use the activity of role-play and change the assessment tools with an emphasis on working together. The goal is to help each student find their voice and feel part of a community. Cooperation and collaboration seem to be the key words here.
Anderson, T. & Misanchuk, M. Building community in an online learning environment: communication, cooperation and collaboration. Retrieved from: www.mtsu.edu/~itconf/proceed01/19.html
Laureate Education, Inc. (2008b). Principles of distance education. Baltimore: Author