Towards a Model for Cultivating Online Learning Communities




Ortlieb, Evan
McDowell, Aly
Stewart, Olivia G.
Preschern, Jennifer
Carhart, Dona E.

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Texas State University, The Education Institute


With the growing number of online students, universities must provide support for students in developmental education to engage, collaborate, and co-construct their learning in socially dynamic ways. Online learning communities provide spaces for students to identify with others, communicate openly and candidly, and develop professional relationships. With social constructivism utilized as a frame to guide this formative experiment, researchers examined social interactions and engagement among students of a PhD cohort across online platforms and apps. Through collective responsibility and the consideration of multiple entry points, the B.E.S.T. (backchannels; engagement; social media; tutoring) framework was established by the researchers and continues to evolve according to students’ needs. Discussion includes highlights and future opportunities to extend and enrich online communities of practice to benefit developmental education programs.



online learning, community, online students, collective responsibility


Ortlieb, E., McDowell, A., Stewart, O. G., Preschern, J., & Carhart, D. E. (2020). Towards a model for cultivating online learning communities. Journal of College Academic Support Programs, 3(1), pp. 21-29.


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