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22st Annual OLC International Conference
November 16-18, 2016 | Orlando, Florida | Walt Disney World Swan/Dolphin Resort

OLC Innovate 2016 - Innovations in Blended and Online Learning
April 20-22, 2016 | New Orleans, LA | Sheraton New Orleans Hotel

The Power of Community in Online Learning

Elisabeth Power (Gonzaga University & Saint Martin’s University, USA)
Session Information
October 15, 2015 - 11:15am
Learning Effectiveness
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Research Study
Major Emphasis of Presentation: 
Practical Application
Institutional Level: 
Multiple Levels
Audience Level: 
Session Type: 
Discovery Session
Atlantic Hall
Session Duration: 
45 Minutes
Discovery Session 2

Using hospitality, professors can foster communities within blended and online courses. Once in place, communities can help professors manage time and improve learning.

Extended Abstract

While hospitality is most often applied to tourism, the archetype of host and guest also applies to the relationship between a student and professor in an online class. A professor who anticipates the needs of students as they enter the online classroom will be able to quickly integrate students of all backgrounds into a comfortable community by creating a feeling of home. A professor, who takes on the role of a host, can create a welcoming environment that allows students to feel like guests in a common environment, rather than strangers.

Despite the convenience of online learning, students miss the social learning found in face-to-face class settings. Professors who encourage hospitality to develop within asynchronous discussion forums help students feel comfortable in the learning environment. Communities of Practice or Inquiry may develop over time. Once in place, these communities can help professors manage time and improve learning outcomes in a blended or online course.

Using Gilly's Five-Stage Model of Teaching and Learning Online as a framework, this paper presentation will investigate whether an instructor who embraces hospitality will encourage development of a learning community, and ultimately find improved learning outcomes in online classrooms.

Lead Presenter

Lisa Power is an Associate Professor for the School of Business at Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, Washington. She has been teaching in areas of business, leadership and communications for more than a decade, in both hybrid and online environments. She gained much of her experience teaching for DeVry University and Keller Graduate School of management, where, in addition to teaching, she developed hybrid, online and competency courses.

Ms. Power is a PhD Candidate in the Leadership Studies program at Gonzaga University, where she is writing her dissertation on the topic of leadership in the development of competency-based higher-education programs. She is particularly interested in helping returning adult and non-traditional students find success in higher education.

Ms. Power earned B.S. in (mass communication and political science) from Northern Michigan University, a master’s degree (advertising) from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication and an MBA (management) from Western Governor’s University.

Connect with Lisa at https://www.linkedin.com/in/lpower