Beyond Coursework: Developing Communities in an Online Program of Study

Jodi Oakman
Journal of Information Technology Education: Innovations in Practice  •  Volume 15  •  2016  •  pp. 167-179
The nexus between paid work and study is important. Developing opportunities to facilitate this link is a key part of good course design especially in postgraduate programs. Strong communities of practice can also assist with improving links between research and practice. The online study environment affords some challenges to achieving these goals. The current study proposes that offering formalised interaction points— synchronous or asynchronous— during online study, is critical to facilitating the link between work and study. Twenty-five graduates of a postgraduate program were interviewed to explore their experiences of an online program of study. Three key themes emerged and are described in this paper: engaging with study, building a new framework for my practice, and implementing changes to my practice. Online learning programs need to embed opportunities for interaction that are meaningful and allow for development of ideas and discussion, aiming to take learning beyond the program of study.

distance education, community of practice, interactions, online learning, network
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