Growing and sustaining an online community

Growing and Sustaining an Online Community: Flexible learning, Experience and Teaching for English Literature Students and Beyond

Team members: David Salter, Brian Wall, Charity McAdams


In the academic year 2012-13, Charity McAdams and Brian Wall received PTAS funding for “Websites and the Creation of Community: Flexible Learning for English Literature Students and Beyond", the result of which was the “English Literature Pre- Honours Blog.” The aim of the project was to build community between the first and second year pre-honours students using an online platform and was inspired by a Michael Northcott’s and Jessie Paterson’s previous project, “Enhancing Critical Reading Using Blogs.” The latter project, which received the PTAS in 2011, displayed positive findings for department-specific objectives, and also found that the students’ use of the blogging platform created a sense of security and community for the students, resulting in increased flexible learning within and outside the classroom.

The English Literature Pre- Honours Blog followed a similar template as an online platform for virtual learning environments and virtual communities of practice, but added peer-to-peer interaction and discussion formats (i.e. comments sections and departmental event promotion).

The grant this year would be used to further assist developments to the website and to continue exploring the question: how does one use a sense of community to create a flexible learning environment that helps students explore literature holistically?

Final Project Report

- Powerpoint presentation given by Brian Wall  at the PTAS Forum 2014

Other Project Outcomes

- Annual Edinburgh Undergraduate Literature Conference since 2015  (see )