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Visualising the dynamics of online learning communities in online and blending learning courses: Experiences from three university courses
Chuang, Victoria Jae · Ceballos, Alejandro · Bundgaard, Helle · Furu, Peter · Bregnhøj, Henrik · Harker-Schuch, Inez · Henriksen, Christian Bugge

Published4 November 2016
JournalTidsskriftet Læring Og Medier (LOM)
Volume 9, Issue 16
CountryDenmark, Europe

ABSTRACT
Online learning communities are a foundational element of online and blended learning. Many learning activities in online and blended learning courses require students to collaborate and work together with their peers. In order for these learning activities to be successful it is important that participants are engaged socially and emotionally in their online interaction to create a sense of community and cohesion, corresponding to what constitutes Social Presence in the Community of Inquiry Framework model. As teachers, we therefore focus on creating learning designs that facilitate the development of online learning communities. In this article, we examine the development of online learning communities in online discussion forums. We map a selection of discussion threads from three university-level courses using the NodeXL software, and discuss the implications of e.g. structure, facilitation and group size on the online learning community that emerges. We find that the framework for participation in discussions (e.g. level of guidance and role of facilitators) affects the degree of connectivity within the online learning community and the prevalence of “social” posting, which has implications for strengthening the community and student-to-student support throughout the course.

Keywords online learning community · social presence · learning design · social posting

CoI focusSocial presence
MethodologyMixed Method
PopulationUndergraduate
Study designCase study
Data analysisSocial network analysis
ContributionEmpirical
Sample size8 forums
Study aim"... we explore how online learning communities can be used in learning designs to promote social presence and improve intended learning outcomes."
Finding"Our study confirms previous studies showing that teaching presence may positively affect social presence and cognitive presence and that social presence may in itself positively affect cognitive presence."
LanguageEnglish
ISSN1903-248X
RefereedYes
RightsCC BY-NC
DOI10.7146/lom.v9i16.24412
ExportBibTex · EndNote · Tagged XML · Google Scholar



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