Faculty Publications

Title

Promoting Community for Online Learners in Special Education

Document Type

Article

Keywords

measuring sense of community, online community, online pedagogy, special educators

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education

Volume

28

Issue

3

First Page

108

Last Page

116

Abstract

This study examined the sense of community in an online course for special education teachers enrolled in a master’s program. The sense of community in an online environment may contribute to students’ success and satisfaction (Knapczyk, Chapman, Rodes, & Chung, 2001). This article provides an example of a process for online community development and implementation that may foster a sense of community among learners, a tool that can be used to measure sense of community and insights from students who responded to this tool. Analysis of survey results from two cohorts of students who completed two sections of an online course in special education shows that the level of community they experienced was “just about right.” This study highlights themes generated that include (a) favored course components (Elluminate sessions, learner-centered activities, and course convenience), (b) factors contributing to sense of community (communication, safe environment, supportive instructor, and opportunities to network across the group), and (c) problematic course components (technical issues and general dislike of online learning format).

Original Publication Date

3-1-2012

DOI of published version

10.1080/21532974.2012.10784688

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