Title: Building community in 21st century graduate classes through synchronous online research presentations: a case for three-dimensional learning environments

Authors: Len Annetta

Addresses: College of Education and Human Development, George Mason University, 4400 University Drive MS 4B3, Robinson Hall A332, Fairfax, VA 22030, USA

Abstract: Exploring the power of virtual worlds for uses beyond the capabilities of traditional online environments is a lofty endeavour but a necessary one in the 21st century. Through qualitative measures, this study compared graduate student perceptions of using two synchronous online learning platforms for presenting research results in a virtual poster format. Throughout a semester long course that introduced educational research methodologies, students were subjected to Elluminate™ and a secure three-dimensional virtual environment through the Activeworlds™ platform called Wolfden. A description of the activities and a synopsis of student-perceptions begin to shed light on the potential of building community through presenting research results online.

Keywords: virtual communities; graduate education; virtual worlds; synchronous learning; science education; online research presentations; higher education; web based communities; online communities; student perceptions; virtual posters.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2011.039511

International Journal of Web Based Communities, 2011 Vol.7 No.2, pp.206 - 217

Available online: 06 Apr 2011 *

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