Building Online Learning Communities Using Web 2.0 Technologies

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In this presentation, I describe how I use Web 2.0 technologies to facilitate the development of a community of learners among graduate distant students and how students responded to the use of Web 2.0 tools and to what extent these tools assisted in developing a community of learners. Twitter, Skype, Google Documents, Blog, and Wiki were intentionally used in order to build online learning communities among students. An anonymous survey was used. The students indicated that using Google Documents, Twitter, Wiki, and blog gave them a sense of a learning community while using Skype did not give them a sense of a learning community. Google Documents and Wiki had the most impact on students sense of a learning community in the course.

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<p>Analysis of the Agreement between Self and Peer Group Ratingwith the Student-Generated Rubric</p> <p>Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education International Conference 2014 Jacksonville, Florida, United States</p> <p>March 17-21, 2014</p> <p>Building Online Learning Communities Using Web 2.0 Technologies</p> <p>Mariam Abdelmalak, Ph.D.The New Valley College of EducationAssiut University</p> <p>2Agenda:OverviewWhy Is Building Online Learning Communities Necessary?What is Web 2.0 technology?Web 2.0 technologies and Online Learning Communities A Practice for Building Online Learning CommunitiesStudents Perspectives</p> <p>3Face-to-Face Online Class</p> <p>Why Is Building Online Learning Communities Necessary?Positive learning outcomes (Sadera, Robertson, Song, &amp; Midon, 2009).</p> <p> Satisfaction with the learning experience (Rovai, Wighting, &amp; Lucking, 2004).</p> <p>Enhanced learning achievement (LaPadula, 2003). </p> <p>Sense of well being (Walker, Wasserman &amp; Wellman, 1994; Wellman &amp; Gulia, 1999). </p> <p>5What Is Web 2.0 Technology?The term Web 2.0 began to be used for the first time in 2004 and referred to a second generation of the Internet (Schrum &amp; Levin, 2009). Web 2.0 technologies allow users to add and change content easily, to collaborate and communicate instantaneously in order to share, develop, and distribute information, new applications, and new ideas (Schrum &amp; Levin, 2009)</p> <p>6Web 2.0 Technologies &amp; Online Learning Communities: Web 2.0 technologies can play an important role in the development of a learning community among students in online courses (Kearns &amp;Frey, 2010; Palloff &amp; Pratt, 2009; Gunawardena et al., 2009). </p> <p>The inclusion of a variety of Web 2.0 technologies can serve to facilitate the development of communities in an online course (Palloff &amp; Pratt, 2009)7Google Documents8</p> <p>(www.twitter.com)Twitter is a form of a social networking space that allows for very short micro-blog entries known as tweets (Schrum &amp; Levin, 2009). </p> <p>In 140 characters or less, people share ideas and resources, ask and answer questions, and collaborate on problems of practice. </p> <p>Twitter can enhance online learning communities (Dunlap &amp; Lowenthal, 2009). 9</p> <p>http://www.skype.comSkype is an internet-based phone service that also allows for conference calling, document sharing, and text messaging (Palloff &amp; Pratt, 2009). </p> <p>Skype to be a good tool for building rapport and social presence among students and between students and faculty (Parker, Boase-Jelinek, &amp;Herrington, 2011). </p> <p>10</p> <p>(https://drive.google.com)Google Docs are free Web-based applications that allow users to create word processing. </p> <p>Google Docs enable collaboration by editing a document written by other students, and by suggesting modifications through comment writing, without editing the document itself (Conner, 2008). </p> <p>Google Docs can be excellent resources to overcome students isolation (Reyna, 2010). 11</p> <p>A blog is a frequently updated online diary or journal; it can be used for news, reviews, personal thoughts, experiences, Web links, and photos (Schrum &amp; Levin, 2009). Via blogs, students enjoy an opportunity to open the windows of communication reading their classmates postings and having classmates comment on their own writing (Blackston, Spiri, &amp; Naganuma, 2007; Windham, 2007). Students who used the blogs did feel a greater satisfaction with the community and engagement as a result of using the blogs (Clake &amp; Kinne, 2012) . </p> <p>12</p> <p>(http://www.pbworks.com), (https://www.wikispaces.com)</p> <p>A Wiki is a collection of Web pages designed to enable anyone who accesses it to contribute or modify content (Dunlap &amp; Lowenthal, 2009). </p> <p>A Wikis allows people to directly edit, update, modify or delete. Wiki also allows multiple users from different locations to collaborate in real-time. </p> <p>A Wiki environment is an effective technology for building community (Lambert &amp; Fisher, 2009; Scott &amp; Liu, 2011). </p> <p>13A Practice for Building Online Learning Communities</p> <p>14Getting Started Module</p> <p>SkypeGoogle emailTwitter</p> <p>16</p> <p>17</p> <p>18</p> <p>20</p> <p>Students Perceptions</p> <p>Students indicated that using Google Documents, Wikis, Blogs, and Twitter gave them a sense of a learning community while using Skype did not give them this sense of community. Google Documents and Wikis had the most impact on students sense of a learning community in the course. Google Documents</p> <p>The students expressed that Google Documents facilitated collaboration through the ability to:edit documents written by other students from anywhere and at any time, share idea and information, and suggest improvements by writing comments. Google Doc was a very useful tool for collaboration. Using Google Doc to communicate with my group gave me a sense of a learning community. We were able to work together while being apart and it made collaboration possible and we did not have to take time out of our lives to meet up in person somewhere but work at times that were convenient for us.</p> <p>Using Google Docs was one of the primary ways the groups I worked with communicated and collaborated. This technology provided a great sense of a learning community through the ways we used the Google Docs as an open forum. One group member could pose an idea or question and the rest of the group could add, edit or comment on the idea. </p> <p>Sample of Students PerspectivesPBWorks WikiThe students expressed the Wiki project gave them a sense of a learning community through the ability to learn from each other, to share ideas and information, and to exchange comments. Some students explained that the commenting feature in the PBworks was an obstacle to their sense of a learning community Sample of Students Perspectives</p> <p>Wiki made the project much more interesting and fun. It definitely felt a sense of community with my group. Wiki made it much easy to communicate even with someone like me live in El Paso and my group members living elsewhere. The commenting feature on the Wiki was a bit more tedious to work through because people who wanted to comment had to be added before they could do so. Since the wiki was limited to just a selected few in the class it didnt give me the same sense of community as some of the other activities. </p> <p>BlogsThe students expressed that using blogs gave them a sense of community through: using the commenting feature, receiving feedback about their work from their classmates, and being able to see their classmates work. Sample of Students PerspectivesI found the commenting feature on the blog very easy to use and I enjoyed the feedback directly on my blog, which gave me a sense of a learning community. Commenting on blogs was like social media. I have never read a blog or written in a blog but I realized while doing it that it was just like MySpace or FaceBook. The learning community was strong and made me realize I have been doing that for my own pleasure numerous times just not for academia. </p> <p>Twitter The students expressed that using Twitter gave them a sense of a learning community through the ability to share ideas not only with their classmates but also with others of the same interest. Some students expressed that using Twitter did not give them this sense of a learning community because of the limited use of Twitter for only one assignment or because of their preference to use Twitter for personal purposes. Sample of Students PerspectivesBy setting up a Twitter account I was able to get to know others not only in our course but others in the same field as well. This gave a great sense of a learning community. I had a Twitter account previously but never used it for education purposes or career purposes. Now I have "friends" that are in the same field as I am and I get to see and hear about their experiences and crafts that they use in their own classrooms.</p> <p>For Twitter, I didnt really feel the sense of learning community. It probably can be a useful tool but with Canvas and other Web 2.0 tools we used over the duration of the course I found it unnecessary. Perhaps if we used it more in more than one assignment it could be a useful collaborative tool.</p> <p>Conclusion:</p> <p>Building and sustaining learning communities should be an essential dynamic in virtual classrooms. Web 2.0 technologies can promote students sense of learning communities in online classes. Yet, building online learning communities is a difficult task. However, doing so is an integral step for improving learning and teaching in online environments, and thus work in this area should continue. 38</p> <p>References:</p> <p>LaPadula, M. (2003). A comprehensive look at online student support services for distance learners. The American Journal of Distance Education, 17(2), 119128.Blackston, B., Spiri, J., &amp; Naganuma, N. (2007). Blogs in English language teaching and learning: Pedagogical uses and student responses. Reflections on English Language Teaching (RELT), 6 (2), 1-19.Available http://www.nus.edu.sg/celc/publications/RETL62/01to20blackstone.pdfClake, L. &amp; Kinne, L. (2012). More than words: Investigating the format of asynchronous discussions as threaded discussions or blogs. Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education, 29 (1), pp. 4-13Conner, N. (2008). Google Apps: The missing manual . O'Reilly Media Dunlap, J, &amp; Lowenthal, P. (2009). Tweeting the night away: Using Twitter to enhance social presence. Journal of Information Systems Education, 20(2), 129-135.Gunawardena, C., Hermans, M., Sanchez, D., Richmond, C., Bohley, M., &amp; Tuttle, R. (2009). A theoretical framework for building online communities of practice with social networking tools. Educational Media International, 46(1), 316.Kearns, L., &amp; Frey, B. (2010). Web 2.0 technologies and back channel communication in an online learning community. TechTrends, 54(4), 41-51.Lambert, J. &amp; Fisher, J. (2009). Community Building in a Wiki-Based Distance Education Course. In G. Siemens &amp; C. Fulford (Eds.), Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2009 (pp. 1527-1531). Chesapeake, VA: AACE. </p> <p>39ReferencesPalloff, R., &amp; Pratt, K. (2009). Web 2.0 technologies and community building online. 25th Annual conference on Distance Teaching &amp; Learning. Retrieved August 15, 2013, from http://www.uwex.edu/disted/conference/Resource_library/proceedings/09_20002.pdfParker, J., Boase-Jelinek, D. &amp; Herrington, J. (2011). Perceptions and reflections: Using Skype chat to build a community of learners. In Proceedings of World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education 2011 (pp. 1599-1604). Chesapeake, VA: AACE. Rovai, A. P., Wighting, M. J., &amp; Lucking, R. (2004). The classroom and school community inventory: Development, refinement, and validation of a self-report measure for educational research. Internet and Higher Education, 7, 263280.Sadera, W., Robertson, J., Song, L., &amp; Midon, M. N. (2009). The role of community in online learning success. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 5(2), 277284. Schrum, L., &amp; Levin, B (2009). Leading 21st century schools. Corwin.Walker, J., Wasserman, S., &amp; Wellman, B. (1994). Statistical models for social support networks. In S. Wasserman and J. Galaskiewicz (Eds.) Advances in Social Network Analysis. (p. 53-78) Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Wellman, B., &amp; Gulia, M. (1999). The network basis of social support: A network is more than the sum of its ties. In B. Wellman (Ed.). Networks in the Global Village. (p. 83-118) Boulder, CO.: Westview Press.Windham, C. (2007). Reflecting, writing, and responding: Reasons students blog. Educause Learning Initiative paper. Retrieved April 2, 2009 from https://www.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ELI8006C.pdf</p> <p>Q &amp; AThank You41</p>