The varying levels of skill and knowledge students bring to a course affect the instructor’s “fair and equitable assessment” of learning are based on the degree of the students’ growth. When students can demonstrate their knowledge and understanding by engaging in the learning community, instructors are then able to assess them fairly and equally.
According to George Siemens (2008a), if student does not want to collaborate in the learning community for an online course, other members within the learning community should make sure he or she understands what each member is being assessed on. Students can participate in role-play activities to get the student who is reluctant to participate in the collaborative community. Students must feel a sense of trust within the learning community to ensure all members feel comfortable to express their views and/or thoughts with others. Information retrieved from http://www2.unca.edu/et/br052605.html also says that communication is vital to any teaching endeavor. Collaboration fosters effective learning environments. Members can email that person to see why he or she hasn’t participated in any of the collaborative activities with the learning community. A telephone call from members of the learning community may also encourage and/or motivate that student to participate in the groups’ tasks. When all members reach out to assist the students who may be reluctant to participate, he or she will gain the confidence to interact with other members in the learning community. According to Palloff & Pratt (2007), students must feel a sense of trust, sense of belonging, sense of support, and a sense of membership. Students want to feel comfortable in a collaborative learning community. By doing so, students are then able to demonstrate their understanding of what they have learned by socializing and providing constructive feedback to their peers and instructors. Once collaborative efforts are made among members within the learning community, they can achieve the desired outcomes.
Instructors’ most important role within a learning community is to assist students in forming, shaping, and empowering their learning community. As a result of this, students will nurture, extend, and use their learning community to developing and share meaningful knowledge with others. Learning communities are more productive when they possess social interaction rather than individual exploration. Once collaboration among members in the learning community exists, students are then able to achieve and show their goals for learning. Instructors must also get community leaders involved in learning environments in order to provide students with real life experiences. Instructors need to exposed students to different learning activities, so they will gain a better understand of the courses’ concepts. Whether students are to use Wiki or any other social networking website, educators need to model what is expected of them in order for positive communication and relationships to develop.
Once the students within the learning community are able to demonstrate true collaboration amongst members, instructors will be able to provide the necessary feedback for members to be successful. Students can also provide other members of the learning community feedback that will assist them in gaining the desired outcome of the group.
ReferencesComeaux, P. (2005). Assessing online learning. Bolton, MA: Anker Publishing Company information retrieved from http://www2.unca.edu/et/br052605.html.
Laureate Education, Inc. (2008a). Principles of distance education. Baltimore: Author.
Laureate Education, Inc. (2008b). Principles of distance education. Baltimore: Author.
Palloff, R. M., & Pratt, K. (2007). Building online learning communities: Effective strategies for the virtual classroom. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.