Sense of Community: A Comparison of Students Attending Christian and Secular Universities in Traditional and Distance Education Programs

Alfred P. Rovai and Jason D. Baker

Alfred P. Rovai and Jason D. Baker examine the move of modern society toward increased individualism and the impact on higher education. In particular, distance education is often viewed as a commodity, devoid of the special personal relationships that develop in classrooms. This essay compares classroom community in traditional and distance education courses within and between a non-denominational Christian university and a secular university. The Christian university environment added an ethos of community involving ceremony, reflection, trust, and connectedness that contributed positively to interpersonal communications and resulted in a stronger sense of community. Mr. Rovai and Mr. Baker are respectively Professor and Associate Professor of Education at Regent University.

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Last Updated: July 5, 2004
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