Information Sharing, Community Development, and Deindividuation in the eLearning Domain

Document Type



In a study of the information behaviors of graduate students enrolled in an online Masters of Library and Information Science (MLIS) program, it was determined that learners engage in threaded discussions not only for cognitive purposes but for affective reasons as well. The information sharing among students was particularly prolific during a session in which medical ailments and information were discussed. Data were collected from an asynchronous class in a graduate LIS program, and were examined through learner/context analysis and textual analysis. This study used syllabi, course construction, specific assignments and requirements, and other details that contribute to the totality of the learning environment. Specific attention was given to the threaded discussions assigned in the class. This data provided insight into the students’ activities and learning during 15 weeks, and enhanced the overall context for the small world that develops within an online learning community.
Students connected with their peers and instructor through copious exchanges of information during which a concerted and consistent effort was made to connect with one another by using personal names, engaging in humor and joke-telling, using emoticons, and expressing support and empathy.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

APA Citation

Cooke, N. A. (2016). Information sharing, community development, and deindividuation in the eLearning Domain. Online Learning (the official journal of the Online Learning Consortium), 20(2).