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The potential of online academic communities for teaching staff: findings from a pilot study of the SocialLearn platform

Mooney, Gerry; Gilmour, Alison; McCall, Vikki and Rutherford, Paul (2014). The potential of online academic communities for teaching staff: findings from a pilot study of the SocialLearn platform. International Journal of Web Based Communities, 10(4) pp. 404–425.

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The purpose of this paper is to offer some insight from an evaluation that explored the viability, usefulness and potential of the online platform SocialLearn in providing an online community for Open University Associate Lecturers (part-time teaching staff). Findings from two focus groups and a staff survey highlighted both the potential of an online community and the barriers to successful implementation. In applying a qualitative analysis of the ‘Communities of Inquiry’ (CoI) framework, the pilot project highlighted the importance of social presence and cognitive presence, with minimal elements of a teaching presence within the online staff community. Key learning outcomes around privacy, usability and multi-level communications were found to be central in creating a successful online academic environment for teaching staff.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2014 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.
ISSN: 1741-8216
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Internal Project Funded Solely by The Open UniversityNot SetThe Open University (OU)
Extra Information: Special Issue on: "Web-based Communities and Their Supportive Role"
Keywords: online communities; staff development; social media; communities of inquiry; CoI; online academic communities; teaching staff; virtual communities; web based communities; Open University; university lecturers; part-time staff; higher education; social presence; cognitive presence; learning outcomes; privacy; usability; multi-level communications
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Social Sciences and Global Studies
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Other Departments > Other Departments
Other Departments
Research Group: Harm and Evidence Research Collaborative (HERC)
International Centre for Comparative Criminological Research (ICCCR)
OpenSpace Research Centre (OSRC)
Item ID: 41046
Depositing User: Gerry Mooney
Date Deposited: 06 Oct 2014 08:32
Last Modified: 06 Aug 2019 08:46
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