Departmental Bulletin Paper The Importance of Residency Sessions in Building Learning Communities in Two Distance Learning Programs

マグラス, ポール D.  ,  キャンベル カレン L.

  This article is the first of two exploring the significance of “residency” (US term) or “schooling” (term used in Japan) ― in-person sessions incorporated into two distance learning MA graduate programs, one in the US and one in Japan. The authors, Karen L. Campbell and Paul D. McGrath, have taught in their respective programs (Campbell at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont and Port Townsend, Washington; McGrath at Nagoya Gakuin University in Nagoya) for more than a decade. The writers are specifically interested in how students interact among themselves and with faculty, and how such interactions influence the quality of the learning experience. While there are many studies of “community,” or sense of belonging in online education, the in-person aspect of lowresidency programs has been insufficiently studied and deserves our attention as it appears to reduce the isolation inevitably involved in distance learning programs and may actually enhance the quality of the students’ research. Certainly Rovai and Jordan (2004), in their study “Blended1 learning and sense of community,” suggest “that blended courses produce a stronger sense of community among students than either traditional or fully online courses.”

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