Encouraging social presence and a sense of community in a virtual residential school

Robinson, Kathleen (2009). Encouraging social presence and a sense of community in a virtual residential school. Open Learning, 24(2) pp. 127–139.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/02680510902879460

Abstract

This study describes the theoretical rationale underpinning the design and implementation of a career related activity as an optional element of a Virtual Residential School (VRS). The activity comprised an interview with a practising Chartered psychologist recorded as an mp3 audio file which was subsequently supported by an asynchronous discussion held in a dedicated online forum. The impact of the activity was assessed based on the analysis of activity logs and the student response to a post course survey together with the ethnographic data from the discussion forum. The design of the activity and its value for enriching the student experience and encouraging social presence and a sense of community is discussed and shows that there were benefits from this approach.

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