community matrix

Community Matrix

<reflection>Authentic communication and interaction are critical in an online course. The nature of this communication and interaction extends to include learner-facilitator, learner-learner, and learner-content. The right combination of user friendly tools supported by clarity in expectations and course content is required. As an online instructor, I must consistently evaluate the tools chosen and ensure their effectiveness for accomplishing the assigned tasks. Tech issues and unclear paths to learning, disrupt and derail course momentum and lead to frustration for all parties. Putting too many tools in play can also be a distraction. Quality online tool selection for building community is tied directly to accessibility and effectiveness. I must be careful with my choices.</reflection>

In an online learning environment, there must be a clear vision of how the interactions will occur and connections be made. Necessity dictates specific tools be assigned to support Learner-Facilitator, Learner-Learner, and Learner-Content connections. These tools coupled with clear expectations of their use will be significant in developing an online community where all students can find success. <edit>The tools I have chosen for these interactions are Diigo, eBlogger, Twitter, Gmail, Google Drive, GradeSpeed, LON-CAPA, and Scoop.it! Note: The combined functions of GradeSpeed and LON-CAPA duplicate the functions of eBlogger, Twitter, Gmail, and to some degree Google Drive. In addition, LON-CAPA allows for the instructor to create nearly unique problem/question sets for each user and gives immediate feedback. Course content requirements will determine to what degree I use each tool. Once I have taught a course more than once, the level of student success will influence the dynamic of online tool integration in to developing and supporting community development. I have made these changes in order to improve clarity of purpose as well as highlight "why" I have not added any additional tools to my Community Matrix. The multi-functionality of both GradeSpeed and LON-CAPA reduce the uniqueness of some of the other tools included here. The saying, "Less is more." is applicable. If the students and I are able to maintain quality and accomplish the same (or similar) tasks with fewer tools then I, the online instructor, will use fewer tools. Note: I have increased the size of the graphic in order to improve visual quality.</edit>