Connecting with online learners: case studies from a Scottish university

Lorraine Syme-Smith, Louise Campbell, Lynn Boyle

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


    The provision of a learning environment in which all students feel valued, have a sense of belonging and are able to be successful learners, is not a challenge particular to online learning; however there are differing challenges in providing these online. This chapter explores how students are supported to feel a sense of connection with, and are welcomed to, the university within an online environment, alongside consideration of what constitutes effective practice.

    It is important that the online learning environment and experience give all learners the opportunity to feel welcome and included and to own their learning experience. The framework used for the analysis includes theories of connectivism and relatedness. Three case studies from a Scottish university are used to demonstrate how online distance program development can achieve connectivism and relatedness and hence provide a successful learning environment. Using a framework of connectivism and relatedness, the three case studies illustrate how online technologies have been used to build a supportive learning environment for learners on different programs, these being an access course, a childhood practice program and a teacher education program. This chapter draws on the variety of experience and perspectives in the author team, to offer a broad exploration of issues around creating a sense of belonging and a welcoming online learning environment. Conclusions are drawn regarding key factors to be considered for successful online learning design.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationInternational Perspectives on Supporting and Engaging Online Learners
    EditorsJaimie Hoffman, Patrick Blessinger
    PublisherEmerald Group Publishing Limited
    ISBN (Print)9781800434851
    Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2021

    Publication series

    NameInnovations in Higher Education Teaching and Learning


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