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Building the Learning Community The Power of Online Learning November 17, 2005 Lawrence C. Ragan Steven Tello.

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Presentation on theme: "Building the Learning Community The Power of Online Learning November 17, 2005 Lawrence C. Ragan Steven Tello."— Presentation transcript:

1 Building the Learning Community The Power of Online Learning November 17, 2005 Lawrence C. Ragan Steven Tello

2 Program Agenda Introductions Key Concepts Balancing Expectations Learning Communities Community of Practice Community Context Community Building Strategies

3 Introductions Session presenters and participants Who, where Show of hands--experience levels??

4 Program Description Provide participants with the opportunity to share ideas and experiences on how to build learning communities within the teaching and learning process. Discussion will focus on how individual experiences can contribute to development of principles and standards of practice

5 Degree of Structure Institutionally created Learning Communities Self-generated Community of Practice FormalInformal Experience in Domain Shared Knowledge Shared Knowing Time Critical Mass Emerging User-need

6 Learning Communities: What are they? “Groups of people engaged in intellectual interaction for the purpose of learning” Cross, 1998 “A relatively small group that may include students, teachers, administrators and others who have a clear sense of membership, common goals and opportunity for extensive face-to-face interaction.” Baker, 1999 “ a kind of co-registration or block scheduling that enables students to take courses together.” Tinto, 1998 A group of people organized around common goals and purpose and committed to learning with and from each other. Shared Knowledge Shared Knowing

7 Student Learning Communities SLC examined in depth on FTF Campus environment Formed primarily around course sequences or programs of study Benefits include Increased depth of learning Improved persistence/retention Promote collaborative learning techniques Extend learning beyond classroom Expand student support circle

8 Student Learning Communities Paired/Clustered Courses individual courses, clustered around a theme Typically includes writing course and seminar Often oriented toward freshman Large Course Cohorts (Freshman Interest Groups) Large lecture paired with smaller recitation/discussion Often include writing course & FIG seminar Team-Taught Programs Interdisciplinary teams with curricular focus Semester to Year duration Residence-Based Program Organize student cohorts, grouped around curriculum & purpose Activities & sometimes courses within residence halls.

9 SLC Examples - Syracuse U.

10 Syracuse U. - Management Learning Community Freshman program for Management majors Three courses Intro. to Management Intro. to Writing Learning Community Seminar Common floor in residence hall Team projects & activities Academic Team building

11 UMA-Commonwealth College

12 UMA-Commonwealth College UMass Amherst Honors College Focus on: Academic Achievement Service Learning Freshman Social Network Honors floor in several residence halls, grouped by major & interests Open to range of majors

13 Learning Community Pedagogy Laufgraben & Tompkins, 2004; Finkel,2000 Collaborative LearningSemester Projects Team/Case-based Peer Review Group Work Space Discussion Forum /White Boards/Chat PedagogyAssignmentTechnology Active LearningReal World Cases Current Events Problem Solving Group Work Space Discussion Forum /White Boards/Chat Service LearningProblem Solving Reaction/Reflection External Review Course Website Blogs/Podcasts Discussion Forum Private Note Space Experiential LearningField Observations Critical Reflection Personal Application Course Website Blogs/Podcasts Discussion Forum Private Note Space

14 Impact for Non-student Groups “while we are willing to recognize the importance of shared learning among our students, we sometimes fail to recognize the need to become shared learners as well.” Tinto Learning communities can serve as a Change Force on campuses, challenging established academic and administrative policies and procedures. Is this beginning to sound familiar?

15 Faculty Learning Communities A faculty learning community (FLC) is a cross- disciplinary faculty and staff group of size (8 to 12 is the recommended size) engaging in an active, collaborative, yearlong program with a curriculum about enhancing teaching and learning and with frequent seminars and activities that provide learning, development, interdisciplinarity, the scholarship of teaching and learning, and community building. Milton D. Cox

16 Types of FLC (Cox) Context or topic-based Address a special campus teaching and learning need, issue, or opportunity Designed to address special academic interests or common interests. Teaching Portfolio Development, Integrating Technology into the Case Method, Integrating Arts & the Curriculum Cohort-based Address the teaching, learning, and developmental needs of an important cohort of faculty or staff. Designed to address a broad range of issues affecting their situation. Graduate Faculty Circle or Senior Faculty Fellows

17 Miami University of Ohio

18 Miami University of Ohio 96 Faculty Learning Communities since 1979 Hesburgh Award for faculty development Competitive participation process, often includes stipend Guides policy and practice

19 Western Carolina University

20 Characteristics of Learning Communities (Cox) 1.Safety and Trust 2.Openness 3.Respect – members feel valued & respected 4.Responsiveness – engendered/moderated by facilitator 5.Collaboration- in both creation & consultation 6.Relevance – relationship to participants academic life 7.Challenge – high expectations for quality of outcomes 8.Enjoyment - activities must include social opportunities 9.Esprit de Corps - Sharing individual and community outcomes with colleagues 10.Empowerment - A sense that activity is focused around a crucial element and a desired outcome

21 Activity: Learning Community Contexts In groups, please identify a learning community familiar to you and your collaborators. Select one among the group and then identify: Type of Learning Community Context (institution, program, purpose) Characteristics Can you identify other types of LCs?

22 Table Discussion Examples of Learning Communities: Table 1--faculty LCs--discussion of challenges (time, motivation, accessibility, ease of use, priority management, recognition, credit) Table 2--Virtual Faculty LC-- Table 3--concerned about the assessment of the process rather than the outcomes

23 Community of Practice (CoP) Communities of practice develop around things that matter to people. E. Wenger

24 Background CoPs have been around as a field of study for a long time Corporate/business has recognized and valued CoPS as a nature of managing within an increasingly complex and information driven environment IBM Global Services experience Knowledge Networks and Communities of Practice Learning as a Social System Collective learning and collective memory Communispace.com, Participate.com, Tomoyne.com, SharePoint Overlap with field of education (Passmore example: self- organizing groups)

25 Community of Practice Communities of practice (CoP) are groups of people who share a concern or a passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly. Etienne (ATN) Wenger and others

26 Three Essential Elements The domain: (A CoP) has an identity defined by a shared domain of interest. Membership therefore implies a commitment to the domain, and therefore a shared competence that distinguishes members from other people.

27 Three Essential Elements The practice: Members of a CoP develop a shared repertoire of resources: experiences, stories, tools, ways of addressing recurring problems—in short a shared practice. This takes time and sustained interaction.

28 Three Essential Elements The community (purposeful relationships): Members engage in joint activities and discussions, help each other, and share information. They build relationships that enable them to learn from each other.

29 Types of CoP Activities Problem solving "Can we work on this design and brainstorm some ideas; I’m stuck." Requests for information "Where can I find the code to connect to the server?" Seeking experience "Has anyone dealt with a customer in this situation?" Reusing assets "I have a proposal for a local area network I wrote for a client last year. I can send it to you and you can easily tweak it for this new client."

30 Types of CoP Activities Coordination and synergy "Can we combine our purchases of solvent to achieve bulk discounts?" Discussing developments "What do you think of the new CAD system? Does it really help?" Documentation projects "We have faced this problem five times now. Let us write it down once and for all." Visits "Can we come and see your after-school program? We need to establish one in our city." Mapping knowledge and identifying gaps "Who knows what, and what are we missing? What other groups should we connect with?"

31 Activity: CoP Contexts Group Think: Identify examples of community of practice. Type of Community of Practice Digital Artists - Forum driven, learning tools, experience User groups, SIGs Professional Associations OpenSource Community Study Group - dynamic, user-driven Context (institution, program, purpose) Blogs used as technology tool to facilitate CoP Characteristics

32 DEGREE OF STRUCTURE Systems-generatedUser-generated Experience in Domain Shared Knowledge Shared Knowing Time Critical Mass Emerging User-need Program Office Freshman Club Department Discussion group College Talk Space User’s groups Self-help Teams Virtual Study Groups SIGs EVOLUTION OF ONLINE COMMUNITIES

33 Forces along the Continuum Experience in Domain Response to change Shared Knowledge Shared Knowing Time Critical Mass Emerging User-needs

34 Community Building Strategies Within groups identify either activity sheet for Learning Community or Community of Practice or both EXAMPLES: ANGEL groups, CyberCelebrities 30 Minutes group discussion Report out-- (send via group work)

35 Strategies Feedback

36 Learning Community: faculty that teach online Focus on learning and to improve teaching and learning online. Distributive model for sharing B&Experiences Give a month for the outcome Training Defining the outcomes and

37 Summary & Future Directions

38 DEGREE OF STRUCTURE Learning CommunityCommunity of Practice EVOLUTION OF ONLINE COMMUNITIES

39 Early vs. Late Adopters Study of Online vs. non-online teachers Michele Jacobson and Alanna Edwards University of Calgary Orientation toward technology adoption and change may also impact generation of and participation in CoPs. In comparisons of early adaptors and late adaptors to online teaching Early adaptors may be more prone to developing CoPs where late adaptors may respond more to established Question: Does this phenomenon exist with online learners as well?

40 LC/CoP Institutional Context Impact of size of audience (number of members within programs vs. institutions) Degree of member coherence (cohort vs. independent) Member proximity (local vs. distributed) Institutional investment (support/value)


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