PALS Online and community building: a contradiction in terms?

Huijser, Hendrik and Kimmins, Lindy (2005) PALS Online and community building: a contradiction in terms? In: ASCILITE 2005: 22nd Annual Conference of the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education: Balance, Fidelity, Mobility - Maintaining the Momentum?, 4-7 Dec 2005, Brisbane, Australia.

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In response to a rapidly changing tertiary education environment, a number of universities
have implemented various peer-assisted learning schemes. Research has shown that
peer-assisted learning can play an important role in helping students address the difficulties of
adjusting to university study in first year. These difficulties consist not only of adjusting to
academic content and study skills, but significantly also to a sense of belonging to a university
community. The evidence suggests that peer-assisted schemes on campus help students
establish social networks which can have a positive and vital influence on their learning and
academic achievements for the duration of their studies, and hence assist with retention.
At the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), the majority of students are not on campus,
which raises the urgent question: how can we harness the advantages of peer-assisted schemes
in an online environment? And given that the potential problem of social isolation is even more
acute in distance education, how do we develop a peer-led scheme online that creates a sense
of community for its participants? This paper will explore these questions by reflecting on
various examples of online mentoring schemes, and suggesting strategies for future

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Copyright lies with ASCILITE and individual authors.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Learning and Teaching Support Unit
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2007 00:26
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2016 23:58
Uncontrolled Keywords: Online education, online pedagogy, peer-assisted learning, mentors, mentoring
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130306 Educational Technology and Computing
13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130304 Educational Administration, Management and Leadership

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