Amy Perrey's Blog

Richard A. Schwier Article
September 23, 2009, 3:20 am
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Pursuing the elusive metaphor of community in virtual learning environments

By Dr. Richard Schwier

I do have to admit I was a little lost on a few things in his article but did gain a lot. Here are a few key points that I took out from the article that I would like to address. Community in online learning or other networks are people brought together over something that interests them. It is virtual learning that is not necessarily face to face, but then again you can bring in your video chat and see each other. So it can be personal..right?

I really had to sit back and think about the question posted in his article “Does participation in online environments promote high levels of social engagement and support significant relationships among participants or does it lead to acute social isolation?”

I thought back to my very first online class- eci831! At first I was very scared to write anything and didn’t want Alec to ask me to talk, most people were very busy chatting right away and saying things to one another. It seemed to me that  a lot  of people in the class already knew one another and had created a bond. I just wanted to sit back and watch what was going on, but at the same time was completely engaged at what was going on, we had Alec talking and showing us something and the class was talking on that chat. Which I know now is the back channel…I took this class because it interested me and I wanted to learn more. If someone didn’t want to learn about on line learning then there would not be any engagement.

I think it really depends on what social network you are in, you want to find something that interests you and you want to learn more. In a school setting there are subjects that don’t interests students, we as educators have to find a way that can get them engaged. We have to also get the students to trust you and feel comfortable. Students don’t want to say the wrong thing. We as educators have to make students feel comfortable.

We have to create a sense of comfort in a community. In our class there are different students and participants from around the world. we are going to create learning communities and networks from with in the class. We will find out more about one another through our blogs, twitter and discussion to create those learning communities. We become more engaged when we have similar interests, we then learn more and can find more information.  We all have different interest with in our technology interests and it is the people in the class that we are going to learn more and share ideas. This can lead to engagement as stated “Confronting or exploring ideas, people and process first presented by someone else in the group.” We hear someone talk in class about a certain topic and get a new link to new information. Or we check the feeds for new links to classmates blogs or twitters, we then become engaged and comment to learn more or ask questions.


Schwier, R.A. (2009, June). Pursuing the Elusive Metaphor of Community in Virtual Learning Environments. Proceedings of ED-MEDIA 2009, Association for the Advancement of Computers in Education, Honolulu, Hawaii.


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