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A Strategy for Building Community and Knowledge Management


Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration Volume 9, Number 3, ISSN 1556-3847


The University of Virginia's School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS), serves a broad, ethnically diverse and talented community of over 15,000 adult students each year. The SCPS mission is to facilitate lifetime learning by providing educational opportunities of the highest quality so that learners can achieve their personal and professional goals. In 2005, the school transitioned from offering online courses through multiple Learning Management System (LMS) platforms, externally administered, to a single platform, the Blackboard LMS, internally administered within the School. As a result, several key components needed to be addressed to ensure a successful transition from multiple to a single, internally administrated Blackboard LMS, including how to provide faculty and students access to appropriate training and support resources, as well as how to foster a sense of community. To determine how to most effectively create and maintain quality support and training as well as to facilitate an online teaching and learning community, SCPS conducted a needs assessment to identify constituency needs. Information for the needs assessment was collated from responses to an online survey which was developed using the online survey tool, SurveyMonkey, and which was emailed to online instructors (n = 85) at the start of the Fall 2005 semester. Instructor responses were kept confidential and their individual identities were not recorded. In addition to the survey, technical support records, individual feedback from instructors, as well as interviews with the SCPS Director of Instructional Design and Blackboard Administrator, who provide training and technical, administrative, and pedagogical support for the SCPS online learning community, were examined. (The response rate for the survey was for instructors 34%). The results of the needs assessment indicated that SCPS online instructors' focus was on technical and administrative aspects of learning to use Blackboard. Instructors also indicated that that there was a lack of community and, therefore, no mechanisms for easily sharing ideas and resources, recognizing a job well done or addressing common, perhaps unarticulated concerns.


Scheer, S.B. & Fanning, E.S. (2006). A Strategy for Building Community and Knowledge Management. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 9(3),. Retrieved December 1, 2022 from .

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