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5.3 EDUCATIONAL SCIENCES
In order to participate in the co-creation of the digital space inherent in Fully Online Learning Community (FOLC) environments (vanOostveen, DiGiuseppe, Barber, Blayone & Childs, 2016), learners must be familiar with the types of web-based tools that are available, and how they can be used to support collaborative learning. Bower (2015) states that educators have a narrow conception of web-based technologies and consequently there are many web-based applications which have not yet been found or utilized. It is suspected that this is also the case for many learners. This paper examines the awareness of web-based tools as well as their use in learning contexts by instructors and students working in FOLC environments. Specifically, the investigation looks to determine if learners and faculty are aware of web-based tools that can help learners to understand concepts, models and theories and how the tools allow for the development of learner autonomy and resilience within fully online learning environments. Participants in fully online courses at a medium-sized Canadian university were asked to respond to a survey as well as participate in a series of repertory grid focus group sessions, held in an audio-video conferencing virtual room. Preliminary results suggest that while awareness of some tools is more prevalent than previously suspected, the use of these types of tools is constrained by a number of factors including a lack of knowledge of how to incorporate the tools into online environments, and a lack of interest in using these tools. The paper includes a full analysis of all collected data.
Webb, S. et al. (2018) Examining the use of Web-Based Tools in Fully Online Learning Community Environments, Universal Design & Higher Education in Transformation Congress,30th October -2nd November 2018, Dublin Castle.