NOTE FOR EDITOR: Snapp: Graphing Student Interactions In A Learning Management System

Kevin YEE

One of the more vexing problems in teaching fully-online classes concerns the development of community. As Rovai (2001) identified, online courses must combat feelings of isolation and impart a sense of personal and individual attention. To create a sense of belonging and togetherness, instructors typically need to surmount numerous technological hurdles inherent in online delivery, not least of which is the inescapable conclusion that the one factor most basic to the formation of community-face to face interaction-is by definition absent in an online class. Many new tech-based teaching tools have been developed in an attempt to ameliorate the digital alienation and promote interaction, such as discussion boards, synchronous chat rooms, and emerging media like wikis, blogs and podcasts, as well as virtual worlds, such as Second Life. As the frequency of interaction grows, so does the sense of belonging to a learning community (Dawson, 2008).