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Building Online Learning Communities | INDE.X405

Technology has dramatically affected many aspects of our lives, including the areas of teaching and learning. The virtual classroom presents unique challenges for instructors who want to create a positive and collaborative learning environment. In this course, participants learn how to overcome the barriers to interaction and build online communities through activities and assignments that empower the learner and build peer interaction, partnerships, and virtual teams.

We will explore what learning communities are and why such communities can play a significant factor in effective online instruction. Students will have opportunities to try out various community-building techniques to increase their effectiveness as instructors. A significant segment of this course will be conducted as an independent study project with guidance from the instructor. Students will be encouraged to experiment using free web-based tools.

In addition to their projects, students will have some online lessons and discussions with the instructor and classmates. These discussions will be conducted using the online discussion tool, through email, and using various meeting tools including POTS (plain old telephone system), teleconferencing, and others. Participants will learn both from the content in the materials and from the direct experience of using the tools.

Additional topics and more in-depth examination of issues will be discussed based on the specific concerns of the participants.
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