Retrofitting theory to practice-a reflection on the development of an e-learning community

Harris, Rachel A and Niven, Jenny (2002) Retrofitting theory to practice-a reflection on the development of an e-learning community. In: Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Networked Learning. Lancaster University, Lancaster.

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Abstract

This paper relates to a project that worked to establish the Virtual Learning Space (VLS). The intent of the VLS is to provide a collaborative online environment where communities of interest can meet to share experience and understanding of Communication & Information Technology (C&IT) in relation to learning and teaching. The VLS is now an active collection of almost 1900 individuals who share experiences within an online or e-learning community. Having undertaken this development process, it is worth reflecting on how theory has moved forward to address the issues that have arisen during the project. This paper will therefore question what we mean by community, particularly in the online context. Illustrations from a growing e-learning community will link to the theory, and also trial its use for guiding future developments.