8 – Community

Blending Community-Driven Learning Activities

…we become ourselves through others…
Lev Vygotsky, Development of Higher Mental Functions

Learning does not belong to individual persons, but to the various conversations of which they are a part.
R. P. McDermott, On Becoming Labelled – The Story of Adam

About this chapter

Chapter 8, Blending Community-Driven Learning Activities turns our attention to learning activities that are driven by community-centered activities or collaboration between learners in order to enhance flexibility, effectiveness, and engagement — whether online or onsite. This chapter emphasizes learning activities that are backed by research in both modes.

From the guide…

To Do

Many chapters of this guide feature a “to do” item to help you focus your own blended course design:

Continue to develop plans for your prototype lesson using the course design map. By the end of this chapter, you should have enough ideas and notes in your course design map to begin building one blended lesson in your online environment.


There are a many free or open platforms for online collaboration and community-building. Here are some by category:


Table 8.1

The general strengths of and weaknesses of onsite and online environments with respect to interaction:



Strengths Human Connection: It is easier to bond and develop a social presence in a face-to-face environment. It makes it easier to develop trust.Spontaneity: Allows the generation of rapid chains of associated ideas and serendipitous discoveries Flexibility: Students can contribute to the discussion at the time and place that is most convenient for them.Participation: All students can participate because time and place constraints are removed.Depth of Reflection: Learners have time to more carefully consider and provide evidence for their claims and provide deeper more thoughtful reflections.
Weaknesses Participation: Cannot always have everyone participate, especially if the class is large and/or there are dominating personalities.Flexibility: Limited time, which means that you may not be able to reach the discussion depth that you would like. Spontaneity: Does not encourage the generation of rapid chains of ideas and serendipitous discoveries.Procrastination: There may be a tendency towards procrastination when students have increased flexibility and autonomy.Human Connection: The medium is considered to be impersonal which may cause a lower satisfaction level with the communication.

Table 8.2

Comparison of traditional learning journals and blogs

Journal Blog
Audience Teacher, learner Teacher, learner, peers, others
Content Journal entries (personal reflections, summaries) Journal entries, reviews, showcase works, opinion pieces, etc.
Access Closed (private) Open (public)
Space Teacher-owned, e.g. LMS Student-owned, e.g. blog platform
Lifespan Terminal (semester) Indefinite

References & Readings

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