Title: Developing a blended-learning community in a university setting

Authors: Antonio P. Volpentesta, Nicola Frega

Addresses: GiudaLab-D.E.I.S., Universita degli Studi della Calabria, Via Pietro Bucci 41C, 87036 Arcavacata di Rende (CS) – Italy. ' GiudaLab-D.E.I.S., Universita degli Studi della Calabria, Via Pietro Bucci 41C, 87036 Arcavacata di Rende (CS) – Italy

Abstract: Today, many universities feel the necessity to move from the scenario of a plurality of enhanced-learning classroom experiences to one where flexible learning and blended learning are relevant and widely diffused paradigms. Such a transition may gain an advantage in an institution-wide blended-learning community where educational knowledge and practices are shared among members. In this paper, we propose a bottom-up approach consisting of four steps (consulting, pioneering, growing and evaluating) that can be cyclically executed in order to build such a community. For each step, we outline the role that the academic institution plays in the constituting community-building initiatives, and we discuss organisational and technological issues to be considered towards a flexible learning scenario. The approach has been adopted in a three-year project that is still ongoing at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Calabria. We describe that study and present some evaluation results dealing with the approach|s validity.

Keywords: educational communities; blended learning; community building; universities; flexible learning; higher education; web based communities.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2007.014076

International Journal of Web Based Communities, 2007 Vol.3 No.2, pp.134 - 150

Published online: 18 Jun 2007 *

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