Alfred P. Rovai


This preliminary study again provides evidence that it is the method and not the media that matters the most in learning effectiveness. The present work examines classroom community in order to determine how sense of community differs between students enrolled in traditional face-to-face and those enrolled in asynchronous learning network (ALN) courses. Subjects consist of 326 adult learners who were enrolled in a mix of 14 undergraduate and graduate courses at two urban universities. As operationalized by the Sense of Classroom Community Index (SCCI), there appears no significant difference in classroom community between the two groups of subjects. However, a discriminant analysis shows a significant overall difference in community structure between the two groups. Variations between groups on feelings of similarity of needs, recognition, importance of learning, connectedness, friendship, thinking critically, safety, acceptance, group identity, and absence of confusion are the characteristics contributing mostly to this difference in learning effectiveness.


Community,Learning Effectiveness,Interaction,Spirit,Trust,Student Satisfaction

Full Text:



Etzioni, A. The Spirit of Community: Rights, Responsibility, and the Communitarian Agenda. New York: Crown, 1993.

Putnam, R.D. Bowling Alone: America’s Declining Social Capital. Journal of Democracy, 6, 65-78, January 1995.

Bellah, R. N., Madsen, R., Sullivan, W.M. Swidler, A. and Tipton, S.M. Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life. New York: Harper and Row, 1985.

McMillan, D.W. and Chavis, D.M. Sense of Community: A Definition and Theory. Journal of Community Psychology, 14(1), 6-23, 1986.

Rheingold, H. The Virtual. New York: Summit, 1991.

Hill, J.L. Psychological Sense of Community: Suggestions for Future Research. Journal of Community Psychology, 24(4), 431-438, 1996.

Sergiovanni, T.J. Building Community in Schools. New York: Jossey-Bass, 1994.

Bielaczyc, K. and Collins, A. Learning Communities in Classrooms: A Reconceptualization of Educational Practices. In C. M. Reigeluth (Ed.) Instructional-Design Theories and Models: A New Paradigm of Instructional Theory, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum, 269-292, 1999.

Alexander, G. C. Community: The Cornerstone of Building a Public Philosophy of Cultural Democracy and Democratic Culture. Paper presented at the International Systems Institute, Asilomar Conversation on the Comprehensive Design of Social Systems, Monterey, California, November 1-5, 1997.

Gibbs, J. Tribes. Sausalito, CA: Center Source Systems, 1995.

Moorman, C., Zaltman, G. and Deshpande. R. Factors Affecting Trust in Market Research Relationships, Journal of Marketing, 57 (January), 81-101, 1993.

Doney, P. M. and Cannon, J.P. An Examination of the Nature of Trust in Buyer-Seller Relationships, Journal of Marketing, 61 (April), 35-51, 1997.

Preece, J. Online Communities: Designing Usability, Supporting Sociability. New York: Wiley and Sons, 2000.

Bender, T. Community and Social Change in America. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1978.

Hare, A. P. and Davies, M. F. Social Interaction. In A. P. Hare, H. H. Blumberg, M. F. Davies, and M. V. Kent (Eds.), Small Group Research: A Handbook (pp. 169-193). Norwood, NJ: Ablex, 1994.

diSessa, A. and Minstrell, J. Cultivating Conceptual Change with Benchmark Lessons. In Thinking Practices in Mathematics and Science Learning. J. Greeno and S. Goldman, Editors. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum, 155-188, 1998.

McMahon, T. A. From Isolation to Interaction? Network-Based Professional Development and Teacher Professional Communication. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 408 257), 1997.

Cutler, R. H. Technologies, Relations, and Selves. In Communication and Cyberspace: Social Interaction in an Electronic Environment (pp. 317-333). L. Strate, R. Jacobson, and S. B. Gibson, Editors. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, 1996.

Brown, J.S. Collins, A. and Duguid, P. Situated Cognition and the Culture of Learning. Educational Researcher, 18, 32-42, 1989.

Lave, J. and Wenger, E. Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Rogoff, B. Developing Understanding of the Idea of Communities of Learners. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 1(4), 209- 229, 1994.

Doll, W.E. A Post-Modern Perspective on Curriculum. New York: Teachers College Press, 1993.

Palloff, R. M. and Pratt, K. Building Learning Communities in Cyberspace. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1999.

Kerka, S. Distance Learning, the Internet, and the World Wide Web. ERIC Digest. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 395 214), 1996.

Besser, H. and Donahue, S. Introduction and Overview: Perspectives on . . . Distance Independent Education, Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 47(11), 801-804, 1996.

Twigg, C.A. Is Technology a Silver Bullet? Educom Review (March/April), 28-29, 1997.

Coleman, J.S. and Hoffer, T. Public and Private Schools: The Impact of Communities. New York: The Free Press, 1987.

McIsaac, M.S. and Gunawardena, C.N. Distance Education. In Handbook of Research for Educational Communications and Technology (pp. 403-437). David Jonassen, Editor. New York: Simon and Shuster Macmillan, 1996.

Shale, D. and Garrison, D. R. Education and Communication. In Education at a Distance: From Issues to Practice (pp 23-29). D. R. Garrison and D. Shale, Editors. Malabar, FL: Krieger, 1990.

Mayadas, F. Asynchronous Learning Networks: Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s Program in Learning Outside the Classroom. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 1(1), 1-14, 1994.

Bates, A. W. Distance Education. In The International Encyclopedia of Education (2nd ed. pp. 1573-1580). T. Husen and T. N. Postlethwaite, Editors. Oxford: Elsevier Science, 1994.

Bruffee, K. A. Collaborative Learning: Higher Education, Interdependence, and the Authority of Knowledge. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1993.

Dede, C. The Evolution of Distance Education: Emerging Technologies and Distributed Learning. American Journal of Distance Education, 10(2), 4-36, 1996.

Wellman, B. The Network Community: An Introduction to Networks in the Global Village. In Networks in the Global Village. Wellman, B., Editor. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1999.

Wellman, B. and Gulia, M. The Network Basis of Social Support: A Network is More than the Sum of its Ties. In Networks in the Global Village (pp. 83-118). B. Wellman, Editor. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1999.

Moore, M. G. Learner Autonomy: The Second Dimension of Independent Learning. Convergence 5(2), 76-88, 1972.

Moore, M. G. Editorial: Three Types of Interaction. The American Journal of Distance Education, 3(2), 1-7, 1989.

Scardamalia, M. and Bereiter, C. Computer Support for Knowledge-Building Communities. In CSCL: Theory and Practice of an Emerging Paradigm (pp. 249-268). T. Koschmann, Editor. Mahweh, NJ: LEA, 1996.

Vrasidas, C. and McIsaac, M. S. Factors Influencing Interaction in an Online Course. American Journal of Distance Education, 13(3), 22-36, 1999.

Bull, K. S., Kimball, S. L. and Stansberry, S. Developing Interaction in Computer Mediated Learning. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 417 902), 1998.

Comeaux, P. The Impact of an Interactive Distance Learning Network on Classroom Communication. Communication Education, 44, 355-361, 1995.

Kozma, R.B. Learning with Media. Review of Educational Research, 61(2), 179-211, 1991.

Kerr, E. B. Computer-Mediated Communication Systems: Status and Evaluation. New York: Academic Press, 1982.

Hiltz, S. R. Collaborative Learning in Asynchronous Learning Networks: Building Learning Communities. Invited address at the WEB98 Conference, Orlando, Florida, 1998.

Butland, M.J. and Beebe, S.A. A Study of the Application of Implicit Communication Theory to Teacher Immediacy and Student Learning. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association, Miami. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 346 532), 1992.

Frymier, A. B. The Impact of Teacher Immediacy on Students’ Motivation Over the Course of a Semester. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Speech Communication Association, Miami Beach, FL. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 367 020), 1993.

Russell, T.L. No significant difference phenomenon. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State University, 1999.

Rovai, A.P. and Lucking, R.A. Measuring the Sense of Classroom Community. Manuscript submitted for publication, 2000.

Tergan, S. O. Multiple Views, Contexts, and Symbol Systems in Learning with Hypertext/Hypermedia: A Critical Review of Research. Educational Technology, 37(4), 5-18, 1997.

Tiberghien, A. and De Vries, E. Relating Characteristics of Teaching Situations to Learner Activities. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 13(3), 163-174, 1997.

Kaye, A.R. Learning Together Apart. In A.R. Kaye (Ed.), Collaborative Learning Through Computer Conferencing (pp. 1-24). London: Springer-Verlag, 1992.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24059/olj.v6i1.1871

Copyright (c) 2019 Alfred P. Rovai