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31

but with the instructor as well. One method to personalize or ―humanize‖ email can be

done

with

the

use

of

  • emoticons‖.

  • Emoticons

are

short

combinations

of

textual

characters

that resemble facial expressions

  • (Rovai,

2001, p.

42).

This direct

communication method provides the social interaction which helps build community in

an online classroom.

Blogs

The word blog is a contraction of the words web and log. Blogs are web dialogs

that provide a threaded record of a conversation between groups of people. This is very

similar to discussion boards since they both are threaded discussions. The difference is

that a blog will start with a question or theme and then become conversational in writing

style whereas a discussion board will have a theme and remain generally within that

theme and will be more scholarly in writing style. This tool helps students create a sense

of belonging and creates a conversational tone amongst them in their interactions. See

Appendix B (Woods & Baker, 2004).

Wikis

The word wiki originates from the Hawaiian words ―wiki wiki‖ which mean super

fast.

Wikis

are

a

collaborative

site

that

allows

for

content

to

be

added

or

edited

instantaneously. This tool helps to build community in an online classroom, because

learners have equal ownership in a creation. Students actively interact with one another

to create content. See Appendix B (Woods & Baker, 2004). This interaction is two-way

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