Over the course of one semester, I studied two online sections of my first-year research and writing courses, implementing the strategies that I have discussed in this webtext and observing their impact on the development of community, students’ impressions of their place within the community, and the decentering of the virtual learning space. Specifically, I was interested in:
- How students would write to shape and to change this online community
- The extent to which that participation would promote a sense of having shaped the course
- How students would tie their work within the couse to their development as writers and critical thinkers
Students were invited at the beginning of the semester to participate in this study approved by the Kennesaw State University (KSU) Institutional Review Board (IRB). Thirty-eight participants agreed to complete three anonymous surveys over the course of the semester and to allow me to draw from their work and contributions to the course. In addition to survey responses, I also examined transcripts of all online discussions. All participants were assured that their identities would not be revealed and were given the opportunity to withdraw from the study at any time.
The links to the left summarize study findings based upon the course strategies described in previous sections of this webtext. Work through the four individual analysis sections first, and then move to the conclusion.