Online Community Building

The development of an online community takes an investment of time and energy. I call this an investment because it does pay dividends through the sharing and collective knowledge of the crowd. In #HumanMOOC, we explored building a community of inquiry by focusing on presence (teaching, social, and cognitive) and Dr. Rena Palloff specifically talked about the need for the instructor presence to be very strong at the onset of community development in order to set the stage for more social presence.

I had the privilege to attend Tekeisha Zimmerman’s dissertation defense “Testing the Psychometric Properties of the Online Student Connectedness Survey” yesterday. First of all, she was brilliant as she made many of the points that rang true during the #HumanMOOC and that Dr. Palloff talked about in her Google Hangout. However, she also made the point that the instructor cannot simply be an observer.  ~ Think about that for a minute…

Have you had learning experiences where the instructor wasn’t present? Where the community of learners didn’t pull you back into the conversation? Where the community wasn’t a community but rather a disjointed, fragmented social organization?

Twitter screenshots


I am already having a very different community experience in #rhizo15. The community is pulling me in simply because I mentioned that I really wanted to participate this time.Thanks to Sarah and Chrissi for the nudge!


I love a good messy learning experience and I thank the community members for pulling me into the fold. I’m going to focus my next few blog posts to my learning in #rhizo15 and I hope that some of our #HumanMOOC friends join us there too.


Where is there you may ask?  Here is rhizomatic learning’s facebook group and use the hashtag #rhizo15 to find the conversation and join in!  For more details see Dave Cormier’s blogpost:

8 comments for “Online Community Building

  1. chrissi nerantzi
    April 11, 2015 at 8:22 pm

    Brilliant Whitney. Working on a dynamic open facilitator stories collection with Carol Yeager and the Open Knowledge foundation. We will start collecting further stories. All will be made available as open data to enable related research 😉 The 2014 collection will be published as a special issue

    • wkilgore
      April 11, 2015 at 8:28 pm

      This sounds fantastic! Let me know what I can do to assist.

      • April 12, 2015 at 10:25 am

        Wonderful you are interested Whitney I will be in touch regarding this.


    • April 12, 2015 at 4:03 am

      Hey that sounds interesting! How r u contacting people?

  2. Sarah Honeychurch
    April 11, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    There’s no escape now. The rhizome has caught you 😉

  3. April 12, 2015 at 4:02 am

    Hey Whitney – so glad you’re here 🙂 we’ll all have a great time together

    I do really believe strongly in what was said (was it Anderson and Dron?) about social presence making up for instructor presence in cMOOCs. Dave was there last year and everything but there are enough educators among us to pull each other in all kinds of directions without much intervention from him (unless he’s pulling strings in the background hehe)

  4. April 12, 2015 at 10:23 am

    We learn best amid the mess, as long as there are kernals of truth in there. It’s funny because I am pretty organized in many things … but the rhizo community structure that Dave puts into place forces me out of that comfort zone and requires me to focus on what it most important about the experience. I discover it myself. Or hope to.

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