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The use of online tools by Higher Education Institutions (HEI) to develop collaborative working through virtual learning environments (VLE) is becoming common place. This action research project resulted from the belief that students should have more control over their learning and are more likely to participate in VLEs when working collaboratively with their peers. With a focus on a specific internal, module blog, four part-time, distance learning HE students volunteered to become co-moderators for a four-week period. A mixed methods approach to data gathering was taken. Established issues surrounding confidence and technical skill were identified as key inhibitor factors. However, this paper also highlights the emerging issue concerning the individual student’s own understanding of their responsibilities as a distance learner and the effect this has on motivation and participation in VLEs. The results are analysed against existing models of online learning and implications for future practice identified.
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