Book Review: Hiltz, S.R. & Goldman, R. (2005). Learning Together Online: Research on Asynchronous Learning Networks

Sarah Haavind, Ed.D.
Lesley University


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.

About the Author(s)...

Sarah Haavind is co-author of one of the pioneering books in the field of online learning: Facilitating Online Learning: Effective Strategies for Moderators by George Collison, Bonnie Elbaum, Sarah Haavind & Robert Tinker (2000). For the past decade she worked at The Concord Consortium (, a nonprofit educational research and development organization that innovates approaches for educators to exploit information technologies. She has recently completed her doctoral work at Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her dissertation, Tapping Online Dialogue for Learning: A Grounded Theory Approach to Identifying Key Heuristics that Promote Collaborative Dialogue Among Secondary Online Learners (Haavind, 2006), is a study of online teacher practice and instructional design in Virtual High School ( classrooms where asynchronous collaborative dialogue is a core learning activity. Her research interests include online instructional design and teaching practices that promote and enrich learning. She may be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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