Friday, December 4, 2009

The Role of Community

Taking into account the readings of Oblinger & Oblinger (2006) and Palloff, Rena and Pratt (2007) I consider the following the three most important issues about building community in virtual settings and its application on our NLE course:

  1. Almost any space becomes a gathering space that students can use for studying, collaborating, and socializing.

In our course we are never tight to be in a classroom in order to discuss topics. In my case, I can work on NLE from my house, my institution and at the University. In all these spaces we can study, socialize and collaborate. As a proof we can see our meetings on Tuesdays in order to discuss the topics of the week. However, I notice that we are not participating with each other’s comments and this leaves behind a type of interaction that is crucial for this type of learning environment.

  1. Many institutions are finding that students will assume responsibility for self-scheduling and self-policing.

The opportunity to allow ourselves our time management for this course is very convenient for a personal schedule. In my case I have had some personal issues that have not allowed me to work with the pace I would have wanted to. However, the possibility to work according to my personal time management has allowed me to catch up with work. This does not mean that deadlines are not an essential part of the learning process, on the contrary deadlines keep a regulation that is needed for any type of evaluated course.

  1. The ability to create a sense of presence online through the personalization of communications.
Through our experience with virtual learning processes I have been able to recognize the different ways that people are connected to the courses. As a personal experience, in the last F2F class, my classmates noticed that I was not present in this course. This means that there is a sense of responsibility at the time of interacting with my colleagues, because they let me know that what I contribute to the class is important for them, and of course what my classmates contribute to the class is important for me.

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