Ashford 5: – Week 4 – Discussion 2
The following nine key characteristics define The Concord Consortium’s approach to delivering quality e-Learning:
- Asynchronous collaboration. Participants don’t have to be logged on to the course simultaneously; they work in an asynchronous environment in which text-based, threaded discussion and collaborative problem solving form the core learning strategy.
- Explicit schedules. Instructors of online courses that rely on collaborative discussions schedule lessons within a specific timeframe so participants can share similar experiences and insights.
- Expert facilitation. Online courses are led by a qualified person specifically trained in online facilitation.
- Inquiry pedagogy. Designers create effective online courses — with many specific elements that contribute to sound pedagogy for inquiry learning.
- Community building. Course designers and instructors are proactive in designing and nurturing a community culture in which participants are supportive, honest, and willing to take intellectual risks.
- Limited enrollment. There are between 12 and 25 participants in a class to keep collaborative learning manageable.
- High-quality materials. Course designers include the widest feasible range of media and activities to appeal to different styles of learning.
- Purposeful virtual spaces. Online, course designers create explicit structures so the community gets what it needs without interrupting the flow of content-based discussions. Typically included are a “Student Lounge,” a “Questions about Assignments,” a “Technical Questions,” and a “Class Meeting” discussion space for debriefing course experiences.
- Ongoing assessment. Online assessment is a continuous, ongoing process. Instructors find evidence of achievement in participants’ daily contributions to online discussions. They learn each student’s unique voice and approach to solving problems through their postings.
Although all nine characteristics are essential, community building is especially important. Students need to feel connected and involved. How do online educators create a sense of community in the virtual environment?
As you begin to construct your response, please check out the following articles for more in depth perspective on this topic:
Be sure to respond to at least two of your peers with examples, suggestions, and ideas to further the thinking.