My review of literature is progressing and I have located additional resources in the past week. I have received some verbal feedback on a portion of my literature review and once detailed written feedback is received, I will make revisions. I am researching constructivism and online learning, teaching presence and asynchronous learning, constructivist instructional design models (PBL and REALs), collaborative learning, and cloud-based solutions. I found a recent study that determined newer technologies such as multi-user environments, group conferencing, and social networks are perceived to be of limited usefulness, even though the potential for collaboration with the use of each is great. The research on cloud-based solutions for collaboration is limited, but emerging. I have located studies on Web 2.0 solutions, which should be relevant. The lack of resources on this topic has been the challenge for the literature review. My focus this week was writing on collaborative learning and asynchronous learning.

Introduction

Teaching and learning in an online environment allows participants the chance to apply new technologies, collaborate with others, and take advantage of flexible schedules (Johnson, 2013).  However, teaching and learning in an online environment requires a redefinition of roles, both for the instructor and the learners (Anderson, 2008; Keengwe & Georgiana, 2012; Johnson, 2103).  Activities and group work in face-to-face classroom may not be as feasible in the online classroom, requiring instructors to consider alternative solutions.  Vonderwell and Turner (2005) report that students want clear and effective communication of online messages and instruction.  The delay factor and lack of interaction in asynchronous communication can influence student learning (Kang & Im, 2005; Vonderwell & Turner, 2005).  The presence of the instructor in an online classroom is essential for improved communication and motivation (Vonderwell & Turner, 2005).

The online instructor has an important role as a facilitator, who can create a constructivist-based learning environment that encourages collaboration to accomplish learning objectives. Synchronous meetings are not always feasible in an online classroom because of funding, time constraints of working students and the availability of the technology needed to conduct such meetings. Small group collaboration with the use of cloud-based solutions is one asynchronous option, which online instructors could adopt and utilize in their online classroom to facilitate collaboration.
Anderson, T. (2008). Towards a theory of online learning. The Theory and Practice of Online Learning. Edmonton, AB: AU Press.

Keengwe, J. & Georgina, D. (2011). The digital course training workshop for online learning and teaching. Education and Information Technologies 17(4), 354-379.

Johnson, C.J. (2013). Evaluation of a hybrid mathematics methods course for novice teachers. International Journal of Online Pedagogy and Course Design 3(1), 33-52.

Vonderwell, S. & Turner, S. (2005). Active learning and pre-service teachers’ experience in an online course: A case study. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, 13, 65-84.

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