Problems of practice

How can community be developed in the online space and how can authentic learning be captured?

These are the issues that I wrestle with in my teaching practice.  I see community as totally pivotal to good online teaching, yet it is challenging to develop real community in a virtual environment where class members might be dispersed across the country. 

I see knowledge building communities as offering a relevant and innovative approach for online teachers. Knowledge Building, as I see it calls for students to work as a research team to solve authentic and emergent problems. The heart of the issue for me is how to create the space for authentic learning and inquiry, where the tail (assessment) is not wagging the dog (learning). 

In my view, online teaching has the potential to provide that space to step outside of the bounds of traditional school culture. This is what excites me about teaching.

If this resonates with you, check out my video to find out more.

By Philippa Mallinson

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@peepso_user_26(Wing Lai)
Yes, Philippa, this is a key issue for online teaching. I see community as a dynamic, not a static concept, and it needs to be nurtured and developed. And it will evolve over time, and finally a community may come to an end. In a classroom (whether online or face-to-face), it is a matter of how to develop a community culture. We are in a rather individualistic society and thus in an online class we need to find ways for students to work together. Community is about sharing and collaboration, and students need to understand this community concept from Day 1.