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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Factors influencing Christian church volunteers' perceived sense of community in an online learning environment
by Warren, Debra P., Ed.D., Regent University, 2009, 145; 3374781
Abstract (Summary)

Volunteers are the backbone of many Christian churches. Adults give an average of 1 hour of volunteer time each week to their church. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2008); thus, church leadership is challenged to provide volunteer training within a narrow span of time. Training is necessary for the volunteers' success within the ministry and for their personal growth, as well as for the organization's ability to provide excellent ministries. Internet-based learning has been increasing in use among college campus and professional development organizations. The purpose of this mixed-method study was to determine if Christian church volunteers could experience a sense of community within an online learning environment and to identify possible factors influencing their sense of community. Forty-two volunteers enrolled in an 8-week online seminar that explored concepts of Christ-centered coaching (Creswell, 2006). Quantitative data was gathered using an adapted version of the Classroom Community Scale (CCS; Rovai, Wighting, & Lucking, 2004). Qualitative data was gathered using an adaptation of Stephen Brookfield's Critical Incident Questionnaire. Data derived from the CCS indicated that sense of community was experienced by the participants in the online learning environment. Responses from critical incident questionnaires were coded and themed to identify three broad components and six specific factors influencing Christian church volunteers' sense of community in the online learning environment. The study's results have implications for Christian churches desiring to understand adult learning needs and practice, volunteers' reactions to online learning, and factors that influence the volunteers' sense of community.

Indexing (document details)
School: Regent University
School Location: United States -- Virginia
Source: DAI-A 70/08, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Adult education, Religious education, Educational technology, Curriculum development
Keywords: Church volunteers, Classroom Community Scale, Community, Critical Incident Questionnaire, Distance learning, Mixed-method design, Online, Professional development, Qualitative research
Publication Number: 3374781
ISBN: 978-1-109-35545-1
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