Creating sustainable digital communities for students & teachers


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Creating sustainable digital communities for students & teachers

  1. 1. Creating sustainable digitalcommunities for students andteachers Dr Shirley Reushle Associate Director Australian Digital Futures Institute University of Southern Queensland, Australia
  2. 2. What is a digital learning community?Guiding principles for building and fostering digital learning communitiesExamples of digital learning communities Its difficult to stay current and informed in a climate where everything is changing (George Siemens)
  3. 3. A digital learning community is defined as a group ofpeople who come together in an online environment to conduct focused and scholarly dialogue, collaborate with their peers, share resources and practices, and build and deepen knowledge and expertise.
  4. 4. McLuhan, M. (1968). War and peace in theglobal village. Bantam, NY. “we live in a global village”34 years later:Ohler, J.B. (2010). Digital community, digital citizen. ThousandOaks, CA: Corwin. “learners have two lives”
  5. 5. engaged has structure requiresleadership connected PURPOSEFUL about PEOPLE social
  6. 6. Do people feel sufficiently attached to the onlineenvironment?If so, which people and why?At some level, leadership may fail if those whoare to be part of that digital community are notin tune with the modality of interaction, evenwhile agreeing to its importance.
  7. 7. Do digital communities bring memberscloser or, for those less experienced in thedigital environment, can the very toolsbeing used lead to a greater sense ofseparation?
  8. 8. What is the “fit” between engaging in adigital community and the learning to be amember of that community (where learningmay be the sense of becoming adept at itsmodes of operation)?
  9. 9. 3 Cases…
  10. 10. There are few experiences as powerful as connecting with other people who are united by the need to work collegially and to resolve mutually shared problemsae-js photostream
  11. 11. Collaborative activity+Mentoring+Digital environments+Community of Practice model….=………………
  12. 12. Community of Practice theory applied to the USQ Higher Education context, with three elements providing organising structure 1 2 Community Domain building knowledge 3 Sharing of practice McDonald, J. (2010) adapted from Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  13. 13. A domain of knowledge that creates a common ground and sense of common identity (builds member capacity)A community of people who care about the domain and create the social fabric of learning (grow a learning community)A shared practice developed to become effective in the domain (innovations noted and this saves reinventing the wheel)
  14. 14. 1 2 Domain Community knowledge building 3 4Sharing of practice A missing link?
  15. 15. …the power of learning partnerships tomotivate and excite us in our work.…the importance of flexibility andadaptability ……access to four mentors, rather than justone adds to the breadth and depth of advice
  16. 16. …but…I need more clarity of purpose and process inthe digital environment.I found difficulty making the program a highpriority …Although I felt fully supported, Iwas not fully committed… its something Iwant to do, can be fun, but gets put asidebecause I have too much "real" work to begetting on with…
  17. 17. Follow the Sun Learning Futures Festival
  18. 18. The combination of synchronous and asynchronous features is considered to be the ideal online conference format(Murphy, A., & Reushle, S.E. (in press). Following the sun: Sustainable conferencing in a climate of change. ascilite conference, Wellington, New Zealand)
  19. 19. This was a truly collaborative endeavour. I was intrigued by the 24-hour format and the calibre of hosts and presenters. Excellent speakers and panels, who know how to conduct themselves in synchronous environments, and well trained moderators. Enlightening and thought-provoking.This has been extraordinary and probably the best single experience in my 10 years in Higher Education. So much breadth and depth and such a sense of connectedness.
  20. 20. Candidate 1 Candidate 1 Co-supervisor 1 Co-supervisor 1 Candidate 1 Candidate 1 Candidate 1Honeycomb model of collaborative PhD supervision
  21. 21. To sum up…
  22. 22. Put “community” at the heart… Needs effective leadership & facilitation Members are It’s a PEOPLE…collaborative process Needs structure & purpose, yet flexibility & fluidity …and should feel they are part of something special
  23. 23. Questions
  24. 24. Creating sustainable digital communities for students and teachers Australian Digital Futures Institute University of Southern Queensland, Australia This work is licensed under aCreative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License Images sourced from