The impact of student-student and student-teacher interaction on community learning

Topic 3. Learning in communities- networked collaborative learning


The webinar with Martha Cleveland-Innes [1] on learning in communities was very informative and inspiring. The Communities of inquiry (COI) [2] framework and the survey used to measure these factors gave me a new knowledge about evaluation of community and collaborative learning. One area, I’m interested in knowing more about is, whether the student-student and student-teacher interaction impact on community learning. I was happy to find an article by Cho M. & Tobias S (2016) [3], who examined the impact of student-teacher interaction in ONL course. The authors used a quasi-experimental study design with 25-30 participants, undergraduate students who attended a fully online course in the US. There were three sections. In the first instance, there was no discussion. In the second, the teacher posted a weekly discussion question and students were obliged to post at least one answer and one comment per week. In the third section the teacher actively participated in the weekly discussions. In all cases the teachers was accessible via email. The authors used multiple measures of interaction effects: COI Inventory (to measure teaching, social and cognitive presence), Three items (to measure students’ course satisfaction), Time on task as represented by login time to the LMS (to measure time and task factors).

The results showed that perceptions of social presence were significantly higher in the more interactive instances, specifically open communication and group cohesion. Teaching presence increased in the third instance, but not significantly. Interestingly, there were no differences in regard to time on task, student satisfaction or student achievement.

The results of Community of Inquiry survey for ONL162 conducted by Martha Cleveland-Innes in the last webinar [1], showed higher ratings in teaching presence, particularly in following items: “the instructors provide clear instructions on how to participate in the course learning activities” and “the instructors encourage participants to explore new concepts in this course”. The lowest rating was in emotional presence, particularly “emotion is expressed when connecting with others students”. One reflection could be that the active role of the instructors/teachers, positive social environment and openness among the students, as well as mutual support are crusial for a positive outcome of learning communities. This result confirmed the results from the study above, where the student-student and student-teachers interactions were significant on the student’s perception of social presence particularly open communication and group cohesioni learning communities.

Clustr Map for the Global Education Coll by elemenous, on Flickr
Clustr Map for the Global Education Coll” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by elemenous

  1. Martha Cleveland-Innes, webinar, Teaching in Blended Learning Environments: Creating and Sustaining, Communities of Inquiry.
  2. Garrison, D.R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in a text-based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 2(2-3), 87-105.
  3. Cho, M., & Tobias, S. (2016). Should Instructors Require Discussion in Online Courses? Effects of Online Discussion on Community of Inquiry, Learner Time, Satisfaction, and Achievement. The International Review Of Research In Open And Distributed Learning, 17(2). doi:

2 thoughts on “The impact of student-student and student-teacher interaction on community learning

  1. onl162roelita

    Hi! Thank you for the insight. I also find it interesting that the social aspect is so important. But it is understandable with the current generation. My challenge is, however, exactly how to implement it to make it as effective as we can.

    Liked by 1 person


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