Exploring the Relationships between Facilitation Methods, Students’ Sense of Community and Their Online Behaviours

Krystle Phirangee, Carrie Demmans Epp, Jim Hewitt

Abstract


The popularity of online learning has boomed over the last few years pushing instructors to consider the best ways to design their courses to support student learning needs and participation. Prior research suggests the need for instructor facilitation to provide this guidance and support, whereas other studies have suggested peer facilitation would be better because students might feel more comfortable learning and challenging each other. Our research compared these two facilitation methods and discovered that students participated more in instructor-facilitated online courses where they wrote more notes, edited and reread notes more, and created more connections to other notes than students in peer-facilitated courses. We identified student activity patterns and described differences in how those patterns manifest themselves based on the facilitation method that was used. Our findings also show that instructor-facilitated courses had a stronger sense of community than peer-facilitated courses.

Keywords


Online learning, community, facilitation methods

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24059/olj.v20i2.775