Underlying Factors of Sense of Community in Asynchronous Computer Supported Collaborative Learning Environments

MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching)
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 2010, 6 (3), pp. 585 - 596
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With the proliferation of online and distance courses human factors and social dimensions of computer supported collaborative learning (CSCL) environments are becoming more important than before. Research shows that development of a sense of community among individuals in the CSCL environments improves learning outcomes in such environments. The objective of this study is to examine the underlying dimensions of sense of community. Through an exploratory factor analysis two constructs have emerged: Individuals sense of cohesion and awareness of others. Identification of these factors facilitates a better understanding of sense of community in CSCL environments, which in turn will guide the design of CSCL environments. In addition, the present paper examines the relationships between the facilitating factors of CSCL and the extracted factors in order to assess changes in individuals behavior. These factors include learners characteristics, course characteristics, instructor characteristics, and technical characteristics.
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