Wednesday, January 23, 2008

OLN Week 3: Learning Communities

This year, I have been involved in two learning communities - one is the OLN Second Life Learning Community in Northwest Ohio and the other is a Web 2.0 LC hosted by BGSU's Center for Teaching and Learning Technology.

As co-facilitator of the SLLC (blog here) we've discussed such things as virtual field trips, office hours, group projects and virtual visiting lecturers - some of which I was able to bring into the classroom. For example: I held regular virtual office hours last semester and was also able to have a artist from Japan speak about his work in Second Life.

I have used my Web 2.0 LC as a springboard for new innovations regarding this technology in the classroom. I've used blogs and wikis for both resource and assignments (remember, I teach 2D art) for several semesters and this semester I've decided to create a Facebook group for my class. So far, we're only using it to keep up to date with what is going on in our School of Art, in our classroom, and with each other.

I would love for my students to be involved in a learning community. The style of exploring, sharing, and understanding that comes from the different levels of experience of everyone involved in an LC is so much different than their regular classroom study. Perhaps many of them would even learn better in such an environment (what works for us might work for them?). However, a lot of my students lack the time and/or motivation to do something beyond their already heavy class/work load.

Perhaps, the polychronic classroom would require and give college credit to student learning communities? If each student was given the chance to participate in an LC for credit, they might be able to investigate other topics of interest. Of course they have clubs for these things (like Martial Arts Club or the Comics and Cartooning Club) but learning isn't stressed or even focused. Upper level students might even be given credit for leading a learning community.

Is this happening at your school?

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