Posted by: emapey | September 2, 2008

Socialization and Personal Interaction in the Online Classroom

As more courses in higher education move to an online format, a major concern is the lack of personal interaction between the professor and student. The literature provides evidence that online courses are often configured and delivered in a style more typically associated with independent study or correspondence work, i.e., students working independently to complete posted assignments at their own pace. While this format may work in some instances, it leaves a missing link in the learning curve for students because they lack the opportunity to benefit from the experience of structured dialogue and sense of community that can be created in a traditional on-site classroom environment. Distance education administrators and trainers should be cognizant of this gap and support faculty members in acquiring needed skills to increase the level of interactivity students experience in online courses. Although academic freedom remains with individual faculty members, assuring distance education programs have integrity is a dual responsibility shared by those who deliver and those who administer such programs. This paper supports the idea that students benefit from personal contact and access to the professor and learning is enhanced in courses with high degrees of interactivity among students. The authors suggest effective uses of e-mail, chat, and various Web-based tools to enhance interactivity and a sense of community within the online course. Sample comments are also included from students who have taken courses that employ the strategies described in this paper.
Source: Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration

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Related Posts: Students’ Socialization and Community Building in Online Learning « Returning to College

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