Creating Community Online
An important element of creating an online learning Community involves trust. Do you trust your fellow learners? Do you even know your fellow learners? Do you share your drafts of assignments with others? What about plagarism?
Other issues of trust can involve privacy. Do you want fellow learners to know your phone number, your email, your address, your other personal details?
The foundation of an academic environment is built upon trust. What is said in the classroom, stays in the classroom. Learners are safe to discuss ideas and opinions without fear of attack or reprisal.
Another important aspect of an online learning community is respect and openness. Learners must be willing to acknowledge, consider and reflect upon the ideas of others without fear of reprisal.
While searching online I found a great article titled “Building An Online Community” which supports some of my points and brings up some others.
I really like the idea of using a Triggering Event (paraphrased from the article):
Triggering event > Exploration > Synthesis > Resolution
- Triggering event - a question or problem presented to the group which poses a question, problem or dilemma for the learners to discuss.
- Exploration - which encourages open discourse and sharing of differing perspectives by learners. Learners are also encouraged to discuss and debate the merits of different ideas.
- Synthesis - the learners identify shared beliefs and common ground by categorizing and evaluating the various ideas.