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Building Online Learning Communities: Effective Strategies for the Virtual Classroom 2nd Edition

3.7 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0787988258
ISBN-10: 0787988251
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Frequently Bought Together

  • Building Online Learning Communities: Effective Strategies for the Virtual Classroom
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  • Creating a Sense of Presence in Online Teaching: How to "Be There" for Distance Learners
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  • Engaging the Online Learner: Activities and Resources for Creative Instruction
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Palloff and Pratt clearly explain the tasks and functions involved when an instructor moves from face-to-face to the online environment. These include the ability to facilitate education, establish a friendly environment, set an agenda, pace the course, and become comfortable and proficient with the technology. Once established, these function as the groundwork for success.

This book is particularly valuable for educators with minimal knowledge of online learning… The authors have included everything needed to build a strong, successful online course.”           

(Adult Learning Magazine Volume 19, Numbers 1&2, Winter and Spring 2008)

" . . .the authors' central premise is that a collaborative learning community is the best vehicle for distance education." (Journal of Continuing Higher Education, Fall 2007)

"There will be a range of 'ah ha' moments for the reader working with students in building online learning communities." (NACADA, Nov 20, 2007)

Review

"The focus on community makes this volume distinctive in the literature about online teaching and learning. The authors' expertise spans the nitty-gritty, practical aspects of the virtual classroom with the larger questions and context of twenty-first century education. This book goes way beyond the how-to's of online education to a sophisticated consideration of the major challenges of teaching and learning."
—Anna DiStefano, provost, Fielding Graduate University

"This book captures the essence of a successful virtual learning experience for both students and teachers. Palloff and Pratt share valuable insights that only expert practitioners could so clearly explain."
—David Wicks, director of instructional technology, Seattle Pacific University

"As the physical and virtual worlds converge to become the 'real world' of teaching and learning, communities play increasingly important roles in bridging distances and differences. This book underscores the real value that communities bring to distributed learning experiences, and gives readers plenty of guidance and advice for creating communities that connect, engage, and inspire."
—Ellen Wagner, senior director, WW eLearning Solutions, Adobe Systems

"This book is a must-read for faculty who truly want to help students understand and apply knowledge, and thus prepare for life in the twenty-first century. Palloff and Pratt have reaffirmed their roles as educational leaders in the development of online learning communities, reminding us of the significant benefits of such communities to learners at all levels."
—Jack A. Chambers, executive director, Office of Organizational Learning Services, Florida Community College at Jacksonville

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 2 edition (July 20, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787988251
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787988258
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #107,669 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kenneth Fairbanks on July 30, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is quite simply one the best books on distance learning that I have read. Palloff and Pratt provide a well researched investigation into developing communities online.

The first part of the book goes to great length in defining distance learning and community. The authors provide both empirical and anecdotal evidence to support their claim that community building online is critical to distance learning success. They do a wonderful job stepping the reader through the psychological process of developing an online community and detailing the impact it can have on learning.

Their approach to instructional design moves the instructor into a collaborative and transformative learning model that places students at the center. Instructors become facilitators guiding student discussion and exploration. This stands in stark contrast to the chalk and talk lecture model that many instructors attempt to replicate in distance learning.

Part two of the book is a hands-on guide to best practices for building online learning communities. It covers everything from initial course design and maintaining a collaborative environment to student and course evaluation.

If you are involved in distance learning and online training... I would strongly recommend this book. It was published in July 2007 and is very up-to-date with references to blogging, wikis and social networks like Facebook and My Space. It's a great read a wonderful reference.
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Format: Paperback
I read this book for a class book review, but felt inspired enough to actually do an online review to benefit those that might be interested in reading this book. I was amazed at the negative feedback this book has currently received online, so I am happy to share my view.
First, let me preface the fact that I currently am an online facilitator and have also taken online classes to be an online facilitator and found this book to be a friendly reminder, backed up by plenty of research and personal testimonies, on how a successful learning community should be conducted. I believe the purpose of this book is to share effective strategies for the virtual classroom (as its subtitle indicates). Its purpose is not to tell you how to create an online class, but how to build a successful community.
The authors communicate several important aspects of a professional learning community through online learning. They make a great effort to help readers understand the transition for face to face learners to virtual learners. They also make it very clear that online facilitators need to be just that. Facilitators. Online learning is meant to be facilitated in a constructivist approach, where the learners take control and responsibility of their own learning through inquiry, collaboration and self-reflection. Online students learn from each other. Yes, this may be very cut and dry to those of us that have taught online successfully; however, the approach they take with their studies and integration of actual student interaction is helpful as it is analyzed thoroughly throughout the book for readers to have a better understanding of how to approach and meet the needs of their different online learners.
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Format: Paperback
This book was assigned in a course on instructional design that I am enrolled in. Overall, I enjoyed the book and was happy that it was both up to date and focused on distance/online education. Online learning is still a developing field and not many books are as purely dedicated to the topic as this one was. The authors provide great insight and information about creating and maintaining successful online learning communities. Each section ends with a list of criteria and/or questions that can be useful when designing/implementing an online course.

While I feel the book is worth reading for anyone interested in the topic, I feel it could have been much more informative. From the title, one would expect that the authors would discuss many "effective strategies for the virtual classroom", but only a few are briefly discussed in each chapter. When you get to the list of things to consider when created an online course at the end of each chapter you wonder why some were not discussed. For example, at the end of the chapter on course evaluation, the authors suggest that designers get feedback on course software and availability of technical support from both instructors and students. A good suggestion, but one that receives very little mention (aside from a few lines mentioning their importance) in the chapter itself. It would have been nice if the authors elaborated a bit more. Instead, nearly every chapter contains long excerpts taken from actual online courses. A few are useful, but mostly they serve to completely ruin the flow of the chapter. A few suffer from being so out of context that they seemed irrelevant to the chapter.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book might be good for someone writing a paper about online learning but, as someone looking to create an online learning course, there was very little, if anything, I could use or apply. To be honest, I stopped reading after 100 pages and started skimming because the dry, academic writing style combined with little actual specific information left me bored.
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