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ERIC Number: EJ958576
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 18
ISSN: ISSN-0737-7363
Nontraditional Students Online: Composition, Collaboration, and Community
Melkun, Cheryl Hawkinson
Journal of Continuing Higher Education, v60 n1 p33-39 2012
In November 2008 the Sloan Consortium published "Staying the Course: Online Education in the United States." This study produced survey statistics relating to enrollments in online courses. The study confirmed what most administrators and faculty members already suspected: the growth of online higher education continues to be astounding; 3.9 million students took at least one online course in the fall of 2007, reflecting a growth in online education enrollments of 12.9% as compared to a modest 1.2% increase in the overall higher education student population. For those who teach continuing higher education courses, particularly composition courses, these statistics seem daunting in that teaching online seems to run counter to collaboration, a best practice that has long been a mainstay of the brick-and-mortar classroom. Nonetheless, online course enrollments will continue to grow, particularly among nontraditional students, many of whom are seeking to enroll in online graduate and professional programs. Employing emerging digital technologies such as group discussion boards, chat sessions, and Web conferencing can create learning and discourse communities that not only lessen student isolation but increase reflection and metacognition. Online collaborative learning groups reap the same benefits as face-to-face collaborative groups: a greater understanding of abstract concepts and ideas, an increase in the student's ability to find and solve writing problems, and a better understanding of audience and its significance. Collaborative group members form a collective audience, an audience that can and does question the writer, forcing the writer to grapple with content and style issues that would otherwise have gone unnoticed and unquestioned. Because collaborative work is so important and because, as Hannah Arendt has stated, "For excellence, the presence of others is always required," instructors must look toward the future and embrace those digital technologies that foster engagement, collaboration, and community.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States