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Cultivating a community of learners in a distance learning postgraduate course for language professionals

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Angelos Konstantinidis

on 25 August 2016

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Transcript of Cultivating a community of learners in a distance learning postgraduate course for language professionals

Development of the framework
Cultivating a community of learners in a distance learning postgraduate course for language professionals
Implementation of the framework
Angelos Konstantinidis
Associate teacher at the distance learning Master of Arts in Digital Technologies for Language Teaching of the University of Nottingham

email: angelos.konstantinidis@nottingham.ac.uk
twitter: @angelntini
personal blog: http://angelos.ict4all.gr/

Dr. Cecilia Goria
Programme Director of the distance learning Master of Arts in Digital Technologies for Language Teaching of the University of Nottingham

email: Cecilia.Goria@nottingham.ac.uk
twitter: @CeciliaGoria
personal website: http://ceciliagoria.weebly.com/

Online and distance learning is proliferating in teacher education
Course content availability 24/365
Flexible schedule
Self-paced learning
Studying from distance
Students' feelings of isolation
Reliance on technology
Effective use of technology
Students' personal commitments
The MA in DTLT programme addresses distance education challenges by leveraging course design to cultivate a strong sense of learners’ community
The Master of Arts in Digital Technologies for Language Teaching (MA in DTLT) is an online distance learning programme of the UoN
The MA in DTLT programme targets qualified teachers interested in developing their theoretical & practical expertise in digital technologies with a specific focus on the learning & teaching of foreign languages
The entry page of the Moodle platform of the University of Nottingham
The two cornerstones: CoI & CIF
Development of the framework
CoI provides a framework for computer mediated communication for closed educational settings

CoI supports purposely designed educational experiences
Differences between frameworks - Our goal
Community of Inquiry framework
Community Indicators Framework
cognitive presence:
the extent that participants are in position to construct meaning through communication
social presence
: participants’ ability to project their socioemotional traits into the community
teaching presence:
relates to the design and facilitation of the educational experience
the ways in which individuals engage in activity

the ties between individuals and the community as a whole

how individuals perceive the community and their place within it

creative capability
the ability of the community to create shared artefacts and knowledge
the MA in DTLT programme sits within an institutionally closed online educational context yet it employs open pedagogies based on the wider social web and its students’ online communities
CIF is informed by the principles of open education and focuses on open social networks for education professionals

CIF supports community development
we attempted to reconcile the two models since:
Development of the framework
We took CoI as starting point and employed a step-by-step approach to integrate elements of CIF
Social presence
Teaching presence
Supporting discourse
Setting climate
Selecting content
Cognitive presence
Cognitive & Creative presence
Social presence & Identity
Teaching presence & Cohesion
Educational experience
Participatory learning
Development of the framework
Process: integration of PLNs
- Εach participant’s PLN is significantly enhanced through his/her participation to the programme.
- Τhe learning outputs of each participant’s PLN affects the learning experience of the community.
- Τhe pedagogical approach implemented with our programme, does not merely recognize the existence of our students’ PLNs, but instead helps them understand the benefits of their PLNs in their learning and actively scaffolds their development.
Participants’ Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) are taken into account and integrated into the model.
Strategies for increasing
Social Presence
Strategies for enhancing
Strategies for increasing
Creative Presence
Strategies for increasing
Teaching Presence
Strategies for increasing
Cognitive Presence
Strategies for enhancing
Welcoming new students
- Group in Edmodo (warm-up activities)
- Welcome messages from 2nd year students
Celebrating social events
- Wishes for the new year
- Christmas party
- Special events (e.g. marriage, childbirth, etc.)
Synchronous meetings
- Tutorials during the year
Addressing students as a group
Promoting peer-feedback
Group tasks
Dissertation Show
Integration & Resolution
Spirit of technology integration
Spirit of collaboration
Encouraging peer interaction
Shifting roles
Non-hierarchical relations
Casual language and environments
Promoting self-disclosure
Encouraging peer support
Active & cohesive community

Strong sense of commitment towards learning

Enhanced the quality of the learning experience

Increased academic achievements

Diminished attrition rates
Discussed the development of the pedagogical framework for cultivating an online community of learners at the online distance learning Masters of Arts in Digital Technologies for Language Teaching.
we presented an array of strategies


we listed the most important outcomes
We perceive that the proposed framework offers to our programme, as well as to other educators who organize and facilitate similar online courses, a valuable tool to monitor and support the development of a learning community.
Final Conclusion
Click to watch the video about student experiences of studying for the Master of Arts in Digital Technologies for Language Teaching
EUROCALL Conference 2016: CALL Communities and Culture
24-27 August, Limassol

Spirit of problem-based learning
Spirit of openness
Triggering event
from the very simple to cultivating a culture of shared responsibility
increase students' interdependence
students collaborate to achieve a common goal
they are all on the same boat!
Triggering event: initiates the inquiry process
Exploration: understanding the problem & searching for info
Integration: constructing meaning
Resolution: reach to a resolution of the problem
far beyond simply "getting the job done"!
cultivate the identity of "open scholar"
less lecturing more real-world tasks
increases authenticity, motivation, collaboration
Full transcript