The emergence of an online learning community in first year tertiary studies in psychology

Dale Holt, Mary Rice, Christine Armatas


The introduction of an online supported, resource based learning environment into a large, multi-modal first year psychology unit led to the spontaneous development of a small, but active, learning community. While off campus students were more active online contributors, many other students “observed” these interactions, not actively contributing but finding the discussion postings valuable to their learning. Overall, use and perceived value of the online communication facilities were related to how confident students were that they had an appropriate study strategy, with off campus and older students reporting greater confidence in their study approach. The results highlight that the nature and function of learning communities for large, multi-modal foundation units are quite different to those typically articulated in the literature and are worth further investigation.

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