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Deep in the Hearts of Learners

Deep in the Hearts of Learners: Insights into the Nature of Online Community
Quote: “Although an online community exists virtually, there are important differences between online classrooms and the rest of the Internet. The option of choice is not present in online learning, if we accept that withdrawing from courses is generally not regarded as a satisfactory conclusion to earnest learning commitments. Online learners must stand up and be counted. They must commit and be present. Unlike Internet users surfing the net or engaging in other types of fantastical, recreational activities (Turkle, 1995), there is no anonymity in online learning.”
Comment: Communities are central to effective online learning…they provide a social forum and “glue” that often motivates learners to share, to interact, (and in some cases to even continue with the course). The author of this article states that interactivity (participation) exists before the formation of communities…and that it is in itself a measure of community health (chicken/egg thing). This may be true…but trust is the critical element that moves learners from merely participating to active engagement – sharing, caring, give-and-take.