Peer Learning in Online Environments

Engaging open, distance learning students in any form of peer or social learning has always been challenging. There are a range of reasons for students being reluctant to participate, including anxieties about how peers might respond to each other in terms of their social, personal, and academic identities and performance. As well, while participation in forums and online spaces governed within the VLE or LMS is low, the level of participation in student led online spaces is active and growing.

This workshop will explore how we can learn from the effectiveness of student led, informal, and social media based tools to encourage peer learning. Social media includes Twitter and Facebook but we’ll also explore tools within the VLE/LMS which draw on social media interaction, such as Open Studio. We’ll ask questions such as:

How can peer to peer interaction be encouraged and nurtured in a safer space?
How can diverse identities can be valued while students feel in control of what they share?
And how can online pedagogy take account of the affective domain of learning?
We’ll seek after ways that the tools we use can open up the possibilities for multi-model interactive learning—a valuable approach for opening our pedagogies for a more diverse spectrum of learning preferences or styles.

Workshop Leader

Lucy Rai
Dr. Lucy Rai is Director of PRAXIS Scholarship and Innovation Centre and senior lecturer in social work.
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