Building a Community?

Like Melinda Pelletier, I really didn’t put a lot of thought into the “why” were having student interaction in our prototype course. When I read the blog post prompt I kinda panicked a bit. After doing some reading and looking at our ideas for our course I see that we considered it, I just needed to determine…

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Mastering Online Discussion Board Facilitation was one of the readings that was required for this week. It looked at the benefits of using online discussion boards, having a purpose, being courteous within the discussion, and encouraging critical thinking. Although the reading is talking about online discussion boards I also see many of these practices important in blog posting, class interaction and face-to-face instruction.

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Shaping the Metaphor of Community on Online Learning Environments  (our second reading) says that in order for a virtual learning community to exist you need “a process for engaging ideas, negotiating meaning and learning collectively”. (pg. 1) Assuming that all your students are engaged, motivated and supportive a virtual learning community can be created. So how are these element considered in our course prototype?

In our course we are using mentimeter, class discussion, class activities, blogs, Kahoot, popplet/inspiration, wordle, and SMORE. These may change as we get into the development piece but so far these are what we have looked at.

For my portion of the course I am using Kahoot, blogging, and class activities. Bryce-Davis (2001) in Shaping the Metaphor of Community on Online Learning Environments identify five features for building online communities. They are “rules, roles, rounds, rituals and ringers.” (pg. 3) Rules refer to establishing the rules to govern the operation of the community. There for in our course the rules would define how we would communicate and then the roles would define how the activities would be carried out. (pg. 3)  Rounds refer to patterns that are created within your course. For ours we have a common pattern of blogging, class discussion and activities as well as common presentation tools that the students would use to show their learning. Bryce-Davis (2001) say that rounds are important because they develop skill, become comfortable and then establish routines. If there is a common pattern then ritual is created. Rituals are routines in learning that are consistent throughout the course. Ringers, according to Bryce-Davis are surprise events, that occurs in a course. A surprise event may be a guest speaker, an activity that disrupts the pattern and renews interest. I see our student activities in our course as ringers because they are interactive and engaging.

This weeks discussion, blog post and reading has made me look differently at the course prototype as more than just a course with a list of assignments and activities. Creating a community is challenging but will in the end create an engaging class that challenges and promotes learning. I look forward to continuing to build the course with Megan and Jannae. Roberta said she felt like she felt like she jumped into the prototype backwards and I agree that we need to back up now and re-evaluate what we are doing and why.

 

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10 thoughts on “Building a Community?

  1. I felt stumped this week about what exactly to write about relating to interactions until I read your blog, Benita, so thank you so much for sharing. It’s kind of like we’re starting at square one as a teacher, now in the digital world; establishing new routines and expectations that maybe weren’t present in our typical classrooms that normally would flow seamlessly. Thanks again for giving me something to think about!

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  7. I also had a mini anxiety attack about this week’s post! Like Logan, reading your post as well as some other classmate’s posts, made it make more sense. Looking at our current plan for our prototype, I think our activities will create community. It may just require a tweak here and there to bring it to the next level. As always, it is important to know the WHY!

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