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Title: Designing and Implementing Strategies that Create and Sustain Online Learning Communities - The Case of a Post-graduate Online Course
Author: Santos, leda Margarete
ISNI:       0000 0004 2679 1162
Awarding Body: The University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2007
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The aim of this thesis is to investigate course design and instructional strategies that contribute to create and sustain a learning community in an online post-graduate course. Sixteen students and two instructors of an online course delivered at an American University during the fall semester 2004 agreed to participate in the study. A review of key learning theories and relevant concepts is then conducted which provides a theoretical framework for the study. This is followed by a review of empirical studies. The thesis adopts an in-depth case study approach and uses multiple methods of data collection including interviews, questionnaires, student products, and course material as well as conference transcripts. Findings suggest that the design of the learning activities helped create interaction but did not generate collaboration. Of the three strategies implemented in th~ course team work succeeded best in establishing social presence. It was further found that the two instructors successfully modelled appropriate participation in the course. The course .leader, in particular, tried to promote student participation and engagement through their messages. Students constructed knowledge through interaction with course material, application of knowledge and skills in practice contexts and through online interactions. This thesis discusses community in terms of spirit, trust, interaction and learning (Rovai, 2001a; 2002). There was evidence of a strong sense of spirit and trust but limited collaboration and a focus on independent learning. The term 'community', as perceived by Rovai did not adequately match the perceptions of students in the particular course. Rather, this was a community minded practitioner learning group (CMPLG). A CMPLG recognises the spirit and trust generated among students but acknowledges the independent nature of their learning.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Not available Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available