EDUC 5407EX - Online Learning Communities

External - Semester 2 - 2015

Learners need to be both independent thinkers and interdependent, collaborative workers. A community of learners is a critical component of higher order learning and the technologies of online learning allow for both private reflection as well as public discourse. This course will expand on how online learning communication technologies are changing cognitive and pedagogical approaches to teaching and learning. It also examines a community of inquiry framework which can be considered when planning and delivering online learning. Effective online facilitation techniques will be incorporated. Cultural implications will also be covered.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code EDUC 5407EX
    Course Online Learning Communities
    Coordinating Unit School of Education
    Term Semester 2
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s External
    Units 3
    Contact 120 hours flexible delivery wholly online
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Assessment Reflective journal, online participation & 2000 word peer reviewed project report.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Edward Palmer

    Edward Palmer
    Work Phone 83136036
    Office Location Room 6.23 Nexus 10
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

    Week 1: Introduction and Familiarisation with MyUni
    Week 2: OLC Characteristics 1
    Week 3: OLC Characteristics 2, Journal Part 1 due
    Week 4: OLC Technologies 1
    Week 5: OLC Technologies 2, Assignment 1 Due
    Week 6: Communities of Inquiry 1&2, Journal Part 2 due
    Week 7: Facilitation and Engagement
    Week 8: Discussion Forums
    Week 9: Facilitation and Engagement Part 2,Journal Part 3 due
    Week 10: Cultural Implications
    Week 11: Presentations part 1
    Week 12: Presentation part 2

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    By the time you finish this course you should be able to:
    1. Identify the characteristics of an effective learning community
    2. Explore some of the latest collaborative technologies to support your pedagogy.
    3. Describe how to engage students in a community and encourage mutual agreement to these values
    4. Recognise and apply good facilitation attitudes, skills and techniques.
    5. Identify cultural differences in the learners and facilitate interaction being sensitive to their needs in order to enhance the learning
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 3
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 2
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 1, 3-5
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 1-5
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 2
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 5
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    All resources are available online
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    Fully online course

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The workload for this course is for a complete 3 point course. 156 hours for the semester. Virtual classes will beheld 1-2 times per week (non-compulsory but highly beneficial). Recordings of classes will be available
    Learning Activities Summary
    Virtual Classes
    Discussion Forums
    Running the class online community
    Specific Course Requirements
    Please check that your learning device is set up such that it will handle the requirements listed below. This will ensure you will have an opportunity to fully participate in this course.
    If you are an Adelaide University staff member and your office computer complies with the standard operating environment specs you are in a good position to meet most of the requirements, at least in terms of hardware.

    Note: It is important to remember that adding new capabilities to your existing computer may have some lead time I.e forms to fill in, help desk requests, installations etc) so please set about doing this in good time.

    The requirements are outlined below:
    Access to MyUni (Blackboard learning management System)
    Virtual Classroom (online service)
    1. Headset (mic and ear phones). Avoid using the PC speakers as these produce feedback into the mic and this disturbs other participants.
    2. A broadband internet connection is not essential but is recommended.
    Journal tool (online service) - included in MyUni
    Wiki tool (online service) - included in MyUni

    Small Group Discovery Experience
    Small group discovery is embedded into Assignment 3 where class members will be running their own forum/community for the class. Expert support/mentoring will be provided by the lecturer.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assignment 1 (20%)
    Technologies for Online Learning Communities

    Research two appropriate technologies/platforms that do or could support Online Communities and post your findings on the discussion board. As you proceed, think of the things that you would value in an online learning community and if those features are supported in the tools you examine. Also think about how learning management systems can support OLCs. We will discuss this in a virtual classroom. Addresses Learning Objective 2

    Assignment 2 (50%)
    What is an online learning community? Experience, reflection and discussion

    Locate two Online Learning Communities relevant to your discipline or higher education (perhaps one of each). Ensure that the type of community is structurally different and participate actively in the communities. Keep a journal of your activities and reflections upon them and then present your findings to the class. Reflect upon and analyse the roles people take in the communities and how effective the communities are for their intended purpose. Addresses Learning Objectives 1-4

    Assignment 3 (30%) - Length approx 1500 words
    Discussion on Online Learning Communities

    Contribute to the discussion boards in a regular and timely fashion and build up a scholarly understanding of OLCs. You will be expected to contribute up to 300 words each over at least 5 discussion boards and assist in running at least one forum for our class community. Support your arguments and discussion with research literature as well as personal reflections. Addresses Learning Objectives 3-5
    Assessment Related Requirements
    Participation in online classes will assist you in your assignments. They will be available in recorded form online
    Assessment Detail

    Assignment 2: Participation in Online Learning Communities and maintenance of a reflective journal (35% of the assignment mark). presentation of findings (15%)

    Your journal will be marked at three points during the semester:each entry should be approx 300 words and should be maintained on a weekly basis
    Week 3 (10%)
    Week 6 (10%)
    Week 9 (15%)-includes summary of all experiences

    Journal Criteria
    criteria Unsatisfactory Satsifactory Highly Satisfactory
    Frequency and Quantity (1-3) Less than 1 posts/week 1 post/week More than 3 posts. Posts are made at least once a week from the commencement of the project
    Content No personal response is made to the issues/concepts raised in the course materials. Does not reflect on own work at all and no examples are provided.

    No use of research literature
    Analysis conveys some evidence of a personal response to the issues/concepts raised in the course materials.

    Demonstrates an ability to reflect on own work but provides few examples.

    Reflection is supported by occasional use of research literature
    Reflection conveys evidence of a personal response to the issues raised within the journal. Student demonstrates personal growth and awareness.

    Reflects well on own work, demonstrates a range of meta-cognitive practices and provides many examples.

    Reflection is asssited by consistent and appropriate use of the research literature

    The Discussion board assignment will run through the whole course. There will be five forums and you will be expected to contribute meaningfully to all of these in a timely fashion. The discussion board rubric is below.


    Unsatisfactory Satsifactory Highly Satisfactory
    Minimal contributions with less than one post per forum Consistent contribution to the discussion board with at least one timely post per forum Regular postings with more than one post per forum occurring in a timely fashion

    Posts typically repeat previous points or are of the “me too” variety

    Little or no evidence of positive contribution towards discussion progression or development

    Little support for or iterative interaction with other class members
    Posts typically add new meaning or information to the discussion

    Posts typically add positive direction to the development of the discussion

    Posts are supportive and offer assistance or direct responses to questions posed by class members
    Posts typically add additional dimensions to discussion points

    Posts are reflective in nature and provide stimulus to the discussion with occasional use of research literature

    Posts are always supportive of the discussion and provide leadership on key points

    No information currently available.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
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