Becoming a "communal architect" in the online classroom: Integrating cognitive and affective learning for maximum effect in web-based education

Robert Woods, Samuel Ebersole


The authors discuss several online and offline community-building strategies that may be used to foster a positive social dynamic in online courses. Before presenting specific strategies, they begin by introducing readers to what they refer to as "communal scaffolding." The communal scaffold lets instructors conceptualize how affective and cognitive learning are inextricably intertwined in the online learning process. It also provides a theoretical base and sets pedagogical guidelines for fostering a supportive communication climate in the online setting. As presented herein, the communal scaffold is consistent with the assumptions embedded in climate theory (popular in community and social psychology literature), which assumes that psychosocial climates vary with different settings; climates are a product of environmental and individuals characteristics; and the relationships between climate, setting, and individuals are reciprocally influential (Pargament, et al., 1983).


online learning; distance education; e-learning; distance learning; technology-enhanced learning; flexible learning; flexible delivery;

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Journal of Open Flexible and Distance Learningthe journal of the Flexible Learning Association of New Zealand (FLANZ).
ISSN (Print until 2010): 1179-7665 ISSN (Online): 1179-7673