Informational. Accessed on: 2019-09-22 13:54:36
Online community has become a hot phrase in education and in our society at large over the last decade and a half. But what exactly is an online community? More specifically, what makes up an educational online community, also known as an online learning community? What are the features and benefits of an online community? How does Direct Knowledge meet the needs of students who are looking for an educational online community? Read more down below to get the answers to these questions.
In this article, we will discuss four main points about online communities. We will show you how you can use Direct Knowledge to make new connections with other students and even with professionals. Here is the breakdown of the article contents:
Online Community Article Sections
- What Is An Educational Online Community
- Online Community Features
- Stream / Feed
- Classified Ads
- Online Courses
- Online Orders / Books
- Direct Knowledge Educational Platform
- Online Community Benefits
- Student Success
What Is An Educational Online Community?
So what exactly is an educational online community? These communities, also known as online learning communities, are where online students connect with other online students. It is a place of reciprocal learning activities. An online community allows you to share new ideas and fresh perspectives. These communities are focused on peer interaction and peer learning. Perhaps the very best word to sum up these online communities is engagement. Student engagement with each other, even more so than the educator, is the backbone of the idea of online educational communities.
According to the Colorado State University blog, “The concept of peer learning recognizes that students are an important source of knowledge in addition to faculty and course material.” Peer learning takes place through online discussion, shared activities, group-work and receiving feedback. Students are a source of knowledge for each other. Yes, they will learn from the instructor and from their textbooks, but a community cannot exist with out active student learning from peers.
An educational online community is a place where students can take the initiative in their own learning by sharing that experience with peers. Building this community is a step beyond simply having students taking a course together online. It is truly shaped by forming a sense of collaboration and shared responsibility for learning.
What’s Different About An Online Learning Community?
In this sense, an online learning community moves away from the more traditional model of students simply receiving knowledge from an educator. These communities are not passive in nature. Rather they are active and created by students working together in an intentional way. Educators still have their place in this type of learning. They are needed to be the moderator. Educators are the guide and the true expert, offering suggestions and help throughout the whole process. But these communities, if they are to be successful ones, have a focus on student to student interaction.
Now that we have discussed what makes up the core or “soul” of an educational online community, what features does an online community need to have to be successful? From a technical standpoint, what should a community offer to students to allow for engagement and shared responsibility of learning?
Online Community Features
To be a successful online community, a platform needs to offer certain technical aspects. Below we will review some of the most common components to any successful online community.
Stream / Feed
An online community must have a way for its users to receive information about what other users are doing. It is important to know what others are saying in order for a community to grow. When discussing an online community that is specifically designed for educational content, it is important to have a limitation on who can participate in these feeds. Ideally, you would want only online learning students with a few professionals to post content that appears in the stream or news feed.
Blogging allows for longer updates among members of an online community. Blogs provide a place where users can connect with each other and share stories or common experiences. In regards to education, this blog can features posts where students can write about their struggles or successes with online learning.
Badges for a community online allow users to quickly see the achievements of other users. These badges can indicate when someone is an expert in a certain content area. They can also reflect a level of involvement on the platform. Badges can lend a sense of authority to posts by members of the community.
Healthy online communities are built around peer interactions. Classified ads allow for members of a community to offer or request services from each other. These sorts of online marketplaces allow for peers to work together in very structured ways. Not only do these ads increase a sense of community, but they allow users to develop an entrepreneurial spirit.
Regularly connecting with friends makes up the core of the online community experience. Without regular interactions among peers, a community will quickly die. By definition, you cannot be considered a community online without having a list of “friends” or regular connections.
Groups allow members of a community online to share ideas around a common theme. Perhaps this group has a common interest or they are learning common materials. In an educational community, a group could be formed around a shared online course.
Online courses are one of the most common ways for online communities to be formed around educational content. Online learning communities need to offer some way for its users to learn together.
Photos are an important part of an online community. They allow for users to interact with different materials in a visual way. It can be argued that most of the content available through online communities now is visual in nature.
Orders / Books
Being able to purchase materials, such as books, online has become a central part of communities and services online. Ordering books online has become a part of everyday life for many individuals.
Direct Knowledge Educational Platform
Direct Knowledge offers all of the features of a top-tier online community. However, the offerings of our site do not end there. We also offer articles, books and courses. We have created a truly unique, all-inclusive educational platform.
Four Key Components of Direct Knowledge’s Educational Platform
- Articles (written by professionals)
- Books (affordable in many different subject areas)
- Courses (created by professionals at accessible prices)
- Online Community (multitude of features and benefits)
On Direct Knowledge, all of our articles are written by experts and professionals. These articles are designed specifically for educational purposes. You have assurance that all writers for our site have backgrounds in the areas about which they are writing.
Unlike most sites or blogs, we verify that our writers are experts in their fields. We insist on high quality content. Direct Knowledge actively recruits experts to publish for us. It is an excellent opportunity for you to read articles from qualified professionals while giving these same professionals a platform to reach a large audience. It is truly a win for both the learner and the writer in this shared online community.
As also mentioned above, our articles are written intentionally for educational purposes. While it may be possible to learn by reading posts on other sites, that is often not the primary purpose of those posts. These articles will inform you about topics and can even be used to supplement your college or university courses.
In addition to quality, we also offer variety in the articles on our site. You can find articles in a wide variety of subjects. These areas are listed below.
- Applied Sciences
- Veterinary Sciences
- Formal Sciences
- Actuarial Sciences
- Computer Science
- Library Science
- Visual Arts
- Natural Sciences
- Earth Sciences
- Space Sciences
- Social Sciences
Books available through Direct Knowledge are both affordable and of the highest quality. There are a number of reasons why authors may choose to publish through Direct Knowledge. One of the reasons can be that they are intending to write a very small or very focused work. On our site, that is to the direct benefit of the student. This flexibility allows authors to publish books that are specialized for what you, the student need, while also being affordable.
Many of the books in our online store have been written by current or former professors from higher education. The authors are experts in the fields about which they write. The content you are receiving is being provided by some of the best in the business at what they do.
Books on Direct Knowledge are available for many different subjects. Some examples of these subjects are: Accounting, Chemistry, Education, Library Science, Philosophy, Sociology, and more.
You can find all of our books available in our Bookstore here.
The online courses at Direct Knowledge are designed to supplement your learning. Many students will purchase these courses to go along with the university or college courses that they are already taking. Our courses are affordable but of the highest quality. Like our articles and books, the courses offered on Direct Knowledge are created by professionals. These individuals are experts in their fields.
Online learning has become increasingly popular over the last two decades. Online courses have moved to the front of online learning. These courses can be offered through traditional colleges and universities. However, more and more each day, individual sites are allowing students to purchase content from them directly. Where Direct Knowledge differs from many of these other sites is because our authors are experts in the areas about which they are writing.
With the rise in online learning courses has come an increase in the sites offering them to students. What you will notice that is different about Direct Knowledge is our mix of quality and affordability. You can find online courses cheaper than they are on our site, but the quality is poor. On the other hand, you can find courses that offer quality, but the price will be exorbitant, frequently hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Direct Knowledge offers a true balance between quality and price.
The online community on Direct Knowledge offers all of the components that make for a successful platform. For example, as we mentioned earlier in the article, our site has all of the following:
- Stream / Feed
- Orders (Books)
From a technical standpoint, Direct Knowledge stands at the forefront of educational online communities. Our focus is education. Even our choice to allow only students and professionals join our community shows our commitment to learning.
We pride ourselves on student engagement. Our community is designed for students to interact and engage with one another as they learn. The ability to learn together with your peers sets Direct Knowledge apart from the competition. Now that you know we have such a strong online community, what are the benefits of participating in one? Read the next section to find out.
Online Community Benefits
We have discussed online communities in great detail in this article. But what are the tangible benefits of belonging to an online community? Let’s go through some of them below.
First and foremost, online communities help build a sense of engagement for students. A successful community allows for the students to take charge of their own learning. They become interactive participants in the community and in their education.
Just look at this quote from an article on Inside Higher Ed,
“When you reflect on your…classes, the ones that you remember the most were the ones that involved relationships…They were the ones that made you feel connected in some way to the instructor and you felt like you were part of a group in the class. That’s exactly what is important in an online class.”
If these relationships are important in any online class, then they are also vitally important in building an online community. Student engagement not only allows students to have a sense of belonging, but it also increases their success. Read this quote below from nwea.org,
“Research has historically indicated strong correlations between student engagement (typically defined as attention to the area of focus, active participation in learning, and time on task) and student achievement. These correlations remain strong for all levels of instruction, across all subject areas, and for varying instructional activities.”
Put simply, it has been shown for decades that strong engagement from students translates to better student achievement and success. If you want to be successful in your education, it is to your benefit to participate in an online community and truly become engaged with other learners.
Direct Knowledge offers these benefits and even more to you as you progress through your education. Learning is a life-long process, and we’ll be here to help you every step of the way.