Title: Leadership in a virtual community

Authors: Ellen B. Scales

Addresses: Drexel University School of Education, 3141 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia PA 19104 USA

Abstract: Recent research into online education in the USA reports that a majority of higher education institutions consider online education integral to their long-term goals. Online education has expanded the scope of traditional brick-and-mortar institutions to anytime access. Faculty who teach online can be drawn from a worldwide community of experts. While the possibilities of online education are substantial, the challenges of creating collaborative learning opportunities and of community building require new ways of thinking and leading. This paper lays out these challenges and opportunities for academic leaders who administer online programmes with a large population of professors and students from around the world. Drawing from qualitative research data, the author discusses a unique set of faculty issues that has arisen as courses from a campus programme are offered online, including the thorny definition of collaborative leadership and the evolution of an online |team|.

Keywords: higher education; universities; team building; online faculties; global programmes; e-learning; electronic learning; internet; world wide web; USA; United States; anytime access; experts; collaborative learning; community building; academic leaders; online programmes; professors; international students; campus programmes; faculty issues; collaborative leadership; online teams; virtual communities; web based communities; online communities; learning communities; web based research networks.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2010.032235

International Journal of Web Based Communities, 2010 Vol.6 No.2, pp.197 - 208

Published online: 17 Mar 2010 *

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