Building Learning Communities Online

Download Building Learning Communities Online

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Presentation for CCE System conference, October 2007 traces the history of the development of an online learning community for forest farmers.

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1. Building Online Learning Communities Lessons Learned from the Development of a Web Based Forest Farming Course Paul Treadwell, Ken Mudge, Louise Buck, Rebecca Hargrave October 2007 CCE System Conference 2. Learning Communities Learning communities can: Facilitate new learning Encourage connections Invite participation Online learning communities : Expand accessibility Diminish some barriers Create new connections 3. The beginning HWWFF version 1 A learning module developed as part of The National Learning Center for Private Forest and Range Landowners Video intensive approach to demonstrate practice 4. A little history SARE funding to support the development of a learning community based on the HWWFF Partnership with Penn State Innovative approach to content development and delivery Relatively undeveloped content area 5. Importance of community and collaboration. Social Process Mentor relationships and scaffolding Creation of a shared culture 6. Encouraging collaboration Tools we deployed to facilitate collaboration: Discussion board Wiki Blog Learning Content Management System 7. The IMFIRP The Internet-mediated Forest Farming Instructional Resource Package (IMFIRP) Based on Moodle Community and collaboration tools Social Presence Discussion boards File sharing 8. Contextual Challenges Disconnect between expectations and reality Sporadic Participation Backsliding email usage Difficulties in encouraging participation Lack of motivation Lack of familiarity/comfort with hardware/software Lack of bandwidth 9. Ownership and Community Who owns the content developed in community? Collaborative necessities Boundaries Rules Trust 10. Necessity drives development Encroaching deadlines Reporting and grant requirements Narrowing of collaborative sphere Phase One needs: Development New content Pilot course Evaluation and assessment tools Identification and Requirements Extension Educators Landowners 11. HWWFF resource center The new resource center re-organized content navigation aides new tools created 12. New content developments Site assessment workbook and case study Online presentation of skills Downloadable workbook Case study workbook 13. The pilot The pilot course was conducted using Moodle 9 week course 3 parallel courses 20 educators and 65 forest owners participated Pre and post course surveys 14. Evaluating progress Formative evaluation. Pre and Post survey Access logs Activity logs 15. Analysis The surveys were designed to evaluate the usability of the content and the delivery system Analysis revealed a significant relationship between connection speed and perceived ease of use of MOODLE No significant relationship between previous experience and comfort level with technology and perceived ease of use Additional survey data and results will be made available this autumn 16. Lessons learned The introduction of new technologies to educators was problematic Existing skill set is insufficiently developed Success requires: Focus on skills development Structured learning experiences for educators 17. HWWTFFO The HWWTFFO provided a systematic approach to working with forest farming content to create distance learning courses Facilitated by trust and personal relationships Educators enjoyed learning by doing Mentor relationships essential 18. Bandwidth Bandwidth can be a substantial barrier to successful engagement online Strategies to compensate for narrowband connections include: Providing alternative paths to bandwidth intensive elements Maintaining an awareness of the technical capacity of participants Flexibility in content development and delivery 19. Applying the lessons Growing awareness of the digital divide Discussion and creative engagement are needed around this issue CCE Online Instructor Certification program 20. An online learning community? During the pilot phase elements of community were apparent: Discussion boards provided a space for interaction Landowners recruited for the pilot had a local connection with educators the online course facilitated access to broader expertise and experience With one exception no longer term community developed out of the project 21. What about the landowners? Landowners participated in the pilot to evaluate the content Impact of content on practice: Post course follow up received responses from 16 landowners Longer term follow-up needed 22. After SARE The How, When and Why of Forest Farming is being offered by a CCE educator, on an on-going basis The CCE Instructor Certification program has been instituted Data gathered from the pilot is being used to guide new course development 23. Always growing The HWWFF resource center continues to grow as more is learned 24. Contact us Ken Mudge [email_address] Paul Treadwell [email_address] Louise Buck [email_address] Rebecca Hargrave [email_address] The How, When and Why of Forest Farming resource center http://hwwff.cce.cornell.edu/ The How, When and Why of Forest Farming resource center http://hwwff.cce.cornell.edu/InstructorsGuide/