Developing and Sustaining Participation in the Learning Environment: A Case Study of an Online Masters Literacy Program in the University of the West Indies, Open Campus

By Rohan Jowallah.

Published by The International Journal of Technologies in Learning

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: June 26, 2015 $US5.00

The proliferation of online degree programs and courses has found many academics questioning the quality of interaction and the overall quality of these courses. Discussions highlight the issues of online interaction and socialization between the teachers and students (Jowallah and Kuboni, 2011). Therefore, universities need to ensure that courses are designed to accommodate active and sustained participation to increase social presence and cognitive presence within the online environment. This paper evaluates strategies used within the online learning environment to increase students’ participation. The four strategies employed are the redesign of the students’ participation activity; consistent management of online course instructors; posting of weekly announcements by course instructors and implementation of sustained feedback to students within the online learning environment. The study also examines the factors influencing students’ participation in the online environment. Participants were students (n=36) and their group facilitator (n=4). The students completed an online questionnaire and data was collected from postings in the online weekly discussion forums. The data details the benefits when activities are designed to encourage student participation and when instructors have a sustained presence within the online environment.

Keywords: Asynchronous, Participation, Online Learning, Interaction, Knowledge Construction

The International Journal of Technologies in Learning, Volume 22, Issue 4, December 2015, pp.1-11. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 26, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 410.813KB)).

Dr. Rohan Jowallah

Instructional Designer, Center for Distributed Learning, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida, USA