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Title: Monitoring Online Communication: Can the development of convergence and social presence indicate an interactive learning environment?
Contributor(s): Lobry De Bruyn, L (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2004
DOI: 10.1080/0158791042000212468
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Abstract: More units of study are being offered flexibly, using distance education and online facilities, as a consequence of recent educational developments in higher education, with learner expectations of being able to study when they like and where they like, as well as increasing class enrolments and more students studying remotely or part-time. However, the quality of the learning experience and the efficacy of placing learning activities that require student interaction and discourse in an online environment have been questioned. The concerns raised by educators regarding placing learning activities online are often about the types of learning environments that are being created and the tools available to support student communication in a virtual learning environment. Asynchronous computer-mediated communication is one means of allowing students to communicate independently of time and place, and to communicate questions, opinions and queries when transferring interactive learning activities to an online environment. The use of threaded, online discussions that allow asynchronous communication has been criticised for not producing the perceived benefits for learners and educators. This paper assesses the use of asynchronous computer-mediated communication and the degree of convergence and level of social presence as indicators of developing highly responsive and interactive learning environments in the context of an inquiry-based learning activity, using a case study approach with problem solving and self-directed research.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Distance Education: an international journal, 25(1), p. 67-81
Publisher: Carfax Publishing Ltd
Place of Publication: United Kingdom
ISSN: 0158-7919
Field of Research (FOR): 130306 Educational Technology and Computing
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Environmental and Rural Science

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