Collaboration or community in unpaced online courses

March 29, 2004

Usually this is achieved using cohorts of online learners working on the same paced schedule – though often using asynchronous technologies. However, studies at our institution (Athabasca University) confirm that there are a large number of full time students and life long learners who do not want (or are not able) to study on a paced scale (i.e. with fixed start and end dates). What kind of learning activities or technologies can be used to create opportunities for collaborative construction of knowledge and discourse in un-paced online courses?

We are engaging in a literature review and interview based research project to try to provide solutions to this problem. We invite your participation in one of two ways:

    1. to contribute a thought, solution, elaboration, reference or resource related to this question to this discussion board.
    2. To email myself and allow us to conduct a recorded audio interview with you related to your experience(s) or thoughts on this issue.

We will be presenting results from pilot studies at Athabasca University currently underway in which activities for this learning context are being explored and welcome other contributions or suggestions for this study.

Thanks very much for any assistance with this work.


Norine Wark, M.Ed. Research Assistant
Email: norinew at
For: Terry Anderson, Ph.D. Canada Research Chair in Distance Education, Athabasca University