Review of literature revealed a shortage of research describing the development of K-12 virtual communities and the absence of a tool to measure sense of virtual community in K-12 virtual education students. The purpose of this descriptive, quantitative study was to examine the perception of a sense of virtual community from the perspective of virtual students. The sample for this research consisted of 205 fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-grade virtual education students. The researcher combined existing research on community in the brick-and-mortar school context, and scales used to measure the sense of virtual community in virtual education and other online settings. From this analysis of existing scales, the researcher created a scale to measure the degree of virtual community perceived by the fourth-, fifth-, or sixth-grade virtual education student.
The measurement instrument consisted of two sections. The first section was a 25-question Likert scale used to measure the degree of virtual community perceived by the students. The second section of the instrument required students to rank virtual classroom and face-to-face activities according to what they felt was the most important for fostering a sense of virtual community. Data analysis revealed the majority of students revealed that they perceived a superior to significant sense of virtual community. ANOVA tests revealed that there was no significant difference between gender or grade level. Rankings of the virtual classroom and face-to-face activities were developed from the data. The rankings revealed that activities such as in-person field trips and gatherings, as well as virtual options such as emails and online live chats, foster a sense of virtual community for virtual students.
|School Location:||United States -- Pennsylvania|
|Source:||DAI-A 75/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational psychology, Educational technology|
|Keywords:||Cyberschool, Sense of community, Virtual education|
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