DEVELOPING LEARNING COMMUNITY IN ONLINE ASYNCHRONOUS COLLEGE COURSES: THE ROLE OF TEACHING PRESENCE

Peter Shea, Chun Sau Li, Karen Swan, Alexandra Pickett

Abstract


This paper builds on the model we have developed for creating quality online learning environments for higher education. In that model we argue that college-level online learning needs to reflect what we know about learning in general, what we understand about learning in higher-education contexts, and our emerging knowledge of learning in largely asynchronous online environments. Components of the model include a focus on learner roles, knowledge building, assessment, community, and various forms of “presence.” In this paper we focus on two components—teaching presence and community—and review the rationale and benefits for an emphasis on community in online learning environments. We argue that learning is social in nature and that online learning environments can be designed to reflect and leverage the social nature of learning. We suggest that previous research points to the critical role that community can play in building and sustaining productive learning and that teaching presence, defined as the core roles of the online instructor, is among the most promising mechanism for developing online learning community. We present a multi-institutional study of 2,036 students across thirty-two different colleges that supports this claim and provides insight into the relationship between online learning community and teaching presence. Factor and regression analysis indicate a significant link between students’ sense of
learning community and their recognition of effective instructional design and directed facilitation on the part of their course instructors—and that student gender plays a small role in sense of learning community. We conclude with recommendations for online course design, pedagogy, and future research.


Keywords


Online Teaching,Teaching Presence,Class Community,Social Learning,Learning Community

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24059/olj.v9i4.1779



Copyright (c) 2019 Peter Shea, Chun Sau Li, Karen Swan, Alexandra Pickett