What would be needed to create an ideal digital learning community (DCL)?  The ideal digital learning community should be free and very well laid out. It needs to be free so that everyone may access it. Registration should be easy. The community should be welcoming in that everyone who joins should feel comfortable navigating the community and asking questions. The DCL that each person would join would depend on their interests and needs. It is a worthwhile use of time to look around at different resources and talk to others to find out which resources they use. This is especially important as interests and teaching duties change.

In laying out the community there needs to be a clear flow for digging down to find information. Having resources differentiated for teachers, students, and parents would make it much easier for each group to find information best suited for them. General headings should break down so that information can be found quickly. This would be first dividing information into major categories and then subdividing each of them as you dive into the material.

The material needs to be updated and links should be made available for further exploration. The goal should always be to find the needed information easily and to encourage further exploration of each subject matter. There needs to be a forum for questions because in an active community there should always be questions that haven’t been answered yet.

What would be needed to bring such a vision to fruition? Obviously, the first would be funding because a dedicated staff would be needed to maintain the community and make sure that shared information is accurate and that inappropriate comments aren’t allowed on the site. There are many communities that are currently available that are doing a great job with the content that they have. Find a few communities and become active in them. Many of these groups have links to other groups that you may also find interesting.

What can one do to make an existing DLC more attractive to and welcoming for students and teachers? I think an existing community becomes more attractive as more people contribute to it and are active in it. I feel it is more welcoming when each member feels comfortable enough to contribute and to ask questions.