Edtech 521 Reflection Journal Week 4

Quotes from Reading, Class Tasks, and Activities
Why is creating community an important aspect of the educational process, particularly online?
What does it mean to be engaged?

What is “community?”

Community allows learners to meet other who share a common goal.  It brings people closer together and provides a connection.  It is particularly important in a online environment because physical distance from one classmate to another can create a feeling of isolation.  Being part of a group and interacting helps the learning process – members can help and learn from each other. 

Engaged means to be interested in learning.  In order to achieve this, Conrad and Donaldson’s Engaging the Online Learner said learning is done collaboratively by the teacher and students and student-to-student.  It mentioned four points about constructivism:
  • Learning is constructed from experience.
  • There is a personal interpretation of knowledge.
  • Learning is an active process.
  • Learning is collaborative. 

Community is when people come together to form a group because they have a common interest.

INSPIRE, Connections Academy

They have two activities which promote community which allows student to interact with each other.  Interestingly, they have field trips even though classes are in an online environment.  They also have different clubs where students can meet others with similar interests.  

I also viewed a sample video of an online class done through Adobe Connect.  It showed an important aspect of sharing information and knowledge.  The class had a discussion on cell diffusion and osmosis and the students were eager to experiment with other solutions at home and share their results. 
Notes Engaging the Online Learner
Get learners to adopt responsibility for their own learning.
Engage learning – collaboration learning between teacher and students which build the knowledge base.  p. vii
Online learning environment focus on collab. and is learner-centered.
Chpt 1
Learning occurs through interaction; to engage is to stimulate and this makes learning meaningful.  p. 2

  1. learning is constructed from experience
  2. personal interpretation of knowledge
  3. learning is an active process
  4. learning is collaborative.  p. 3

Collab is well suited for online environment; share ideas lead to deeper thought
Do something meaningful with content to create knowledge; creativity, critical analysis, and skill performance increases knowledge
Engage learning environment =
constructivist principles
problem based learning

Continued from left side
Technology at times only focus on creating online lectures which is not enough; it can lead to isolation and dropout; lecture only focus on knowledge transmission.  p. 4
Participation important >> activities; student need “active knowledge-generators” p. 5
Learner centered; finding resources and leading discussions shifts to learners.
Online power sharing gives students more control and motivation.
Key Elements to Online Environments

  1. engaged learning
  2. connections to real world
  3. numerous opport. for communications
  4. feedback

Guide Learner to Engage Online
Phase 1 – Icebreaker.  Students learn about each other / interact
Phase 2 – Intro working together; critical thinking, reflection, sharing ideas
Phase 3 – In-depth working together.  Small groups to collaborate, solve problems, reflect more deeply
Phase 4 – Longest phase.  Learner designed activities, learner led activities

Teacher helps to transition the different phases.
Engaged learning requires planning and utilizing activities.

Source: Engaging the Online Learner
Conrad, Rita-Marie
Donaldson, J. Ana

Week 4 Community Building
I had a great experience learning about community and understand important role they have in education for both students and professionals.  In the reflection is a personal experience that I had getting involved in a community.  
Reflection Online Community


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