Chapter 3

Tools for Online Learning Communities

This chapter discusses tools for supporting online learning communities. It considers a range of social software tools such as wikis, blogs, instant messaging, virtual worlds and social network sites. The tools, categorized as either synchronous or asynchronous, are discussed in terms of the facilities they provide and the ways in which they can be used for learning. The chapter ends by presenting the views of students who have used online communication for learning.

Chapter contents list:

  1. Categorising Communication Tools
  2. Asynchronous Communication Tools
  3. Case Study – Ekademia: A Learning Environment Using Elgg Social Software
  4. Synchronous Communication Tools
  5. Students’ Views of Online Communication Tools
  6. Case Study – Pedagogical Discourse: Tools for Promoting Learning and Participation in an Online Discussion Forum
  7. Choosing and Using Tools for Online Communities
  8. Key Points for Practitioners
  9. Further Reading