Reducing academic isolation in favour of learning relationships through a virtual classroom


  • Mike Goldrick National College of Ireland
  • James O'Higgins Norman Co-author



Academic isolation, Virtual classrooms, Student centred, Learning support.


Abstract Due to geographical distances and sporadic contact with peers and faculty members, many off-campus or distance learners experience feelings of inadequacy, reduced self-confidence and other social anxieties. As a means to reduce and avoid these consequences of academic isolation, Higher Education institutes have traditionally used asynchronous forms of communication in order to bridge these geographical gaps. However, due to advances in technology, it is now possible to offer distance learners the opportunity to communicate synchronously with their peers and their teachers as they would in a real classroom. In accordance with these developments, this research examines the development of a virtual learning support service in National College of Ireland. Using survey results, online student feedback and semester results, this research will present how the problem of academic isolation was reduced in National College of Ireland by incorporating the use of a virtual classroom. Presenting screen shots and a review of online teaching, the research will illustrate how a learning support service can become more flexible and student centred.


Author Biographies

Mike Goldrick, National College of Ireland

Dr. Michael Goldrick has an Honours degree in Psychology and a PhD in Education. He has worked in Higher Education for seven years and currently manages the Learning Support Unit in National College of Ireland. Michaelââ¬â¢s research interests include learning development, blended learning, bullying and collaborative learning.

James O'Higgins Norman, Co-author

Dr. James Oââ¬â¢Higgins Norman is a lecturer and researcher in education at Dublin City University, Ireland. He is the author of a number papers and books on bullying and pastoral care in education. His research interests include student support, bullying in schools and equality in education.




How to Cite

Goldrick, M. and O’Higgins Norman, J. (2012) “Reducing academic isolation in favour of learning relationships through a virtual classroom”, Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education, (4). doi: 10.47408/jldhe.v0i4.123.