Developing Online Communities: A Study Of The Processes That Facilitate And Foster Online Learning Communities

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Mona Abinader (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Damiana Pyles

Abstract: The purpose of this naturalistic case study was to investigate students’ perceptions of community at a mid-size American college. This study sought to identify the learning environments, interactions, and activities that are most predictive of developing and fostering a sense of community in online courses. Study participants were full-time teachers, librarians, or instructional technology facilitators working in K-12 environments. Qualitative and quantitative data included interviews; online learners’ experience surveys; transcripts of online discussions; recordings of synchronous sessions; and researcher observations. Data analysis was based in Charmaz’s (2006) constructivist approach to grounded theory. Findings revealed that 1) age and experience with online courses did not make a significant difference in perceived sense of online community for these participants; however, gender did; 2) learning environments influenced students’ perception of community; 3) shared experience and common goals contributed to the development of a sense of community; and 4) online collaboration and activities were viewed by the participants as products that inadvertently served to build community. The significance of this study lies in that it confirms that online communities can be the ideal medium for constructivist online teaching with internet and computer-mediated environments, thus ensuring success for adult learners in higher education.

Additional Information

Abinador, Mona (2016). "Developing Online Communities: A Study of the Processes That Facilitate and Foster Online Learning Communities" Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation. Appalachian State University, Boone NC.
Language: English
Date: 2016
Sense of community, Online learning, Online communities, Elearning, Online courses

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