Websites and community

Websites and the creation of community: flexible learning for second year English Literature students.

Principal applicant: Dr David Salter

Team members:

  • Ms Charity McAdams
  • Mr Brian Wall


ln May 2011, Michael Northcott and Jessie Paterson received the PTAS Grant for a project titled 'Enhancing Critical Reading Using Blogs.' Not only did their project show positive findings for department-specific objectives, but they found that the students' use of the blogging platform created a sense of security and community for students by creating an environment of inclusivity, resulting in increased flexible learning within and outside the classroom.

Our proposal seeks to build upon that research by using websites that function as both virtual learning environments and virtual communities of practice, allowing for tutorial flexibility in blogging and discussion formats to ask the question: how does one use a sense of community to create a flexible learning environment that helps students explore literature holistically?

This grant will use the following objectives to explore this question:

- Create a central website for second-year literature students, the primary function of which is to link together individual tutorialwebsites and to highlight student literature projects, events, and achievements. The website's secondary function will be as an online repository of resources for new and experienced teachers (sample lesson plans, course website templates, teaching techniques, etc.) focused on developing open discourse.

- Train tutors to create and implement sites for individual tutorials, linked to the central website, each of which will utilize PeerWise and/or WordPress blogging and discussion platforms for student-generated content.

- Organize a project impact evaluation poster session day as part of Innovative Learning Week, showcasing student-centered feedback in the ways their individual literature community changed through the use of the website environment.