Community across a continent: cultivating relationships in online education Distance Education versus Traditional Education: Management Methods and Systems

Jessica E. Masterson


Online education has undoubtedly revolutionized the ways, means, and criteria for learning. With more systems for cyber communication and collaboration than ever before, online education is often touted as the second coming of Horace Mann's notion of “the great equalizer” in education. However, one critical piece of face-to-face education, the ability to build and cultivate interpersonal relationships and communities, is severely strained, and often nonexistent, in the realm of online learning. As more and more research suggests the importance of community to students' academic success at all levels of the educational system, what are the implications for our online students if this factor is missing? In this paper, the author draws upon her experience as a traditional public school educator and as an online instructor through the Johns Hopkins University Masters of Science in Education program to discuss the importance of nurturing personal connections with online students in ways that support students' intrinsic needs for community and increase participation, interaction, and academic outcomes.

Palabras clave

online education, cyber communication, management methods and systems

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