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You are invited to a Digital Learning Lab Presentation! Open to the public.

Unpacking Community in Online Programs:

Comparing and Contrasting the Perspectives of Students and Faculty

Sharla Berry, California Lutheran University

Friday, May 1

12 noon to 1 pm

Connect via Zoom:  https://ucieducation.zoom.us/j/2492393854


Abstract: Despite the centrality of a sense of community to online students’ engagement and retention, there is a dearth of scholarship about how community is cultivated. Drawing on data from two qualitative case studies, I explore student and faculty perspectives on how and where community occurs. Findings suggest that while faculty perceive the scope of community in an online program to be narrow and limited to the classroom, online students cultivate community through their interactions across a number of online and offline spaces. These findings have implications for how we understand the role of faculty in online programs, and for how we understand student engagement in these programs.


About the Speaker: Dr. Sharla  Berry is an  Assistant Professor  of Education at California Lutheran University with an extensive research background in online teaching, learning, and evaluation. She received a PhD in Urban Education Policy from the University of Southern California.  Her research has been featured in many academic journals including Online Learning, the Journal of Computing in Higher Education, and the International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, and at academic conferences including the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE). Dr. Berry is also an evaluator, and has been a fellow with the American Evaluation Association (AEA).