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Deepening the community

By Michael Ryan

Abstract

"Learning communities" are an attractive if hackneyed notion, especially in higher education contexts, because they offer the promise of students learning effectively within quasi-authentic environments. However, the constraints of time, curriculum and student profile in university subjects often mean these "communities" lack depth - everybody is an apprentice. A longitudinal design experiment was conducted in a large first-year university subject. The study included past students acting as legitimate members of a current community. They provided advice, support and offered mentoring-at-a-distance to current students. Thus, through mediated communication channels, they provided a tantalising glimpse of a deeper community, enriched by functional and reflective conversations. As a technique which is relatively easy to set up, the method described has immediate practical application

Topics: 130103 Higher Education, 130306 Educational Technology and Computing, communities of practice, design experiment, peer mentoring, web inquiry project, HERN
Publisher: Queensland University of Technology
Year: 2006
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.qut.edu.au:14728

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