Community, Cohorts, and Collaboration
My face-to-face courses only meet once peer week, so I rarely get to know my classmates.
I love the support of my peers in online courses.
Forums, wikis, and other technology tools make collaboration easy.
Some online courses began as correspondence courses with little interaction between the instructor and student. No communication may have existed among learners.
Although this is still an effective approach in some program, distance learning program have increasingly sought ways to involve learners in a sense of community. In some cases, this involves the development of cohort groups or collaborative teams.
Distinguish between formal and informal interactions. Both types of interaction are important in creating a sense of community in an online course. Required course discussions, formal debates, and group decision-making activities may require formal interactions, while introductions, peer support activities, and general discussions may be less formal.
Think about ways to bring members of your local community together. Transform traditional services into 21st Century services.
Read Library Services to an Aging Population: Ideas for the 21st Century at ALA's Reference and User Services Association. Think about how you could design an online program for a group of enthusiastic seniors who don't want to drive to the library during the winter months, but would still like to maintain a virtual connection. Check out the PCLS Senior Services Blog from Pasco County Library System for other ideas related to working with Seniors in the library.
Also explore Serving Seniors (2002), a resource manual for Missouri Libraries that was produced with funds from the Federal Library Services and Technology Act.
Read the following pages to explore ways to engage your students with their peers: