Case study of the student-to-student interactions in an online course offered by a community college, and how the interactions impact learning community Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/z029p838f

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  • This study was conducted to investigate the student-to-student interactions that take place in an online community college course, and how the interactions impact an online learning community. The literature review revealed three related themes: (a) the impact of the teaching/learning environment on student interaction, (b) barriers in the online environment, and (c) peer collaboration in the online environment. The case was selected using four selection criteria: (a) the class was offered completely online (b) the instructor was experienced teaching online classes, (c) computer technology was not the primary content of the course, and (d) the level of interaction was sufficient to investigate student interaction. Data were collected from public transcripts including bulletin board forum postings, email, group papers, and interviews. Six of the 16 students enrolled in the class and the instructor were interviewed. In this case, the environment impacted the way students interacted, collaborated, and socialized with peers. It changed the way participants existed within the learning community and impacted how students interpreted meaning and perceived time. The study generated findings with implications for community college instructors and participants of online learning communities. The online environment may impact: (1) how conflict is handled, (2) the quality of discussion among peers, (3) student involvement with peers, (4) the formation of cohesive groups, (5) a student's ability to interpret the meaning of comments made by others, (6) a student's expectations of the time needed to complete tasks and respond to others, and (7) the ability to design a flexible structure that encourages students to explore outside their comfort zone. Additional research is warranted. It is recommended that future studies be conducted to investigate how conflict, time, and collaboration impact an online learning community.
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