Didaktics of media: Learning Communities

This blog post is one part of the series “learning diary” for a course at my university.


Based on the pdf which was provided I assume we will learn something about communities of learners. In the pdf it’s stated that the oldest definition for a university is “a community of learners and teachers”. So I assume we will learn more about the University as a community of teachers and learners. Furthermore the pdf goes on to asynchronous learning communities. Therefore I assume we will learn something about wikis, mailgroups and co.

What have I learned:

As an experiment I try to take my notes of the lesson directly on the blog. We will see how this works out.

One way to moderate an online course is Adobe Connect. Our professor showed as the instance Adobe Connect on the Deutsche Forschungs Netzwerk. She showed us the capabilities (whiteboard, Share screen, Question Answer Session, notes, chat…). One feature she mentioned some of the feedback possibilities: “Raise your hand”, “Slow Down” or “You are to quiet”.

The topic of today was Computer-supported cooperative/collaborative work/learning or CSCW/L. We did a quick round up which tools for collaboration are used by the students. She pressed the fact that you need a learning goal, especially for collaborative learning environments.

We have been informed that in the states the university is more of a community than in Germany: The teachers are doing more with the students and the students wear university stuff (more proud).

The goal of a curricular learning communities are linked classes. A linked class is a class which has different courses, often interdisciplinary, with the same set of students and teachers.

Also important is the integration of different courses: Often the math teacher has no idea what the informatics teacher does. This could lead to inefficiency. If you integrate all courses together more tightly the topics could be more aligned.

Another learning community structure is “coordinated study”. In this concept, there are no such things like courses, but all courses get blended together. So you would have for example a topic (game design) and all “courses” would revolve around these topic.

Asynchronous Learning Networks (ALNs)

There are different kinds of communities. For example there are geographic community like the life in an American Small Town.

What is a ALN? It means anytime / anyplace. Learning networks are communities of learners who work together to build and share knowledge, through computer networks. In an ALN a classroom is the platform. Be it a MOOC or a learning System.

How to build a community?

  • The teacher needs to be online. Otherwise students wont be either.
  • Immediacy is important. Without the nonverbal part a written discussion can easily be misinterpreted.

What are obstacles to virtual intimacy?

  • Paranoia – I might be revealing details about myself I don’t want stored
  • Grifters - Someone can steal my ideas
  • Bad design of the courses

Update 17.12.2015: Added What have I learned section