Book Review: Hiltz, S.R. & Goldman, R. (2005). Learning Together Online: Research on Asynchronous Learning Networks
The book Learning Together Online: Research on Asynchronous Learning Networks (2005) is a comprehensive review of the current state of research on online learning. Co-editors Starr Roxanne Hiltz and Ricki Goldman bring together leading researchers in the world of virtual education to collaboratively author chapters. In the first section, theoretical foundations and research methods are delineated. The second section synthesizes current theory and research, proposing fruitful directions for further examination. Chapters focus on learning effectiveness online, virtual students, faculty roles, collaborative learning, varied media for online instruction, and fostering learning communities. Learning Together Online aspires to nothing less than transformative power for members of the higher education community. Readers are warned that reluctant faculty more than students or administrators are resisting movement toward increased uses of online collaborative platforms and tools for learning. Hiltz and Goldman point to the feature of asynchronicity itself as that which sets asynchronous learning networks apart from alternative learning environments, on or off-line. Questions for reflection and discussion complete each chapter to leverage continued dialogue beyond the text. Scholars, graduate students and online practitioners will find the research survey informative, the questions for further research compelling, and road forward succinctly paved by this work.