Bennett, Elizabeth (2006) Is it necessary to assess it? Online learning and communities of practice. In: Diverse Practices; Common Futures, 21st June 2006, The University of Greenwich. (Unpublished)

This paper reports on how ideas of Communities of Practice (Wenger 1998) have informed the design of a blended learning master programme. Software dialogue tools delivered through a VLE (virtual learning environment) including synchronous chat, discussion forum were used.

Student activities including online collaborative product and a forum for providing mutual support and sharing of expertise were evaluated. These activities were found to form a valuable part of the students’ experiences on the programme.

Although research has demonstrated the importance of linking assessment to online activities (MacDonald and Twining, 2002) this case study has shown that in a blended learning situation the social aspects of learning can be used to motivate students to participate in online activities.

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