The Fourth Pan-Commonwealth Forum on Open Learning (PCF4)
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Shironica Karunanayaka

First Experiences in Collaborative Online Learning: A Case Study

Shironica Karunanayaka
The Open University of Sri Lanka.

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     Last modified: July 30, 2006
     Presentation date: 11/03/2006 10:00 AM in NT Portland B
     (View Schedule)

Using online methods for learning is rapidly growing among higher education institutions all over the world, especially in Open and Distance Learning contexts. The Master of Arts in Teacher Education (International) Program of the Open University of Sri Lanka integrated collaborative online learning in the course, “The Teacher Educator as an Educational Technologist”. Using a web-based Learner Management System, an interactive learning environment was created, to enhance collaborative learning among students. This study investigated the successes and impacts of the initiative, and challenges faced by students who were novices to online learning. The online learning environment supported students to interact with the subject matter content, with each other and with the teacher. As a result of this experience, students were gaining confidence in self-regulated and reflective learning, while developing a social bonding among them. Although they faced certain challenges such as coping with the technology and changing from conventional approaches, a sense of achievement was claimed once the activities are completed. This paper elaborates on the roles of teachers and learners in a collaborative online learning environment, and also stresses the necessity for design of interactive learning grounded in pedagogy, in order to ensure a successful learning experience for learners.

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