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    1. 1. Exploring Pedagogical Practice within an Online Learning Community Alison Mander, Petrea Redmond, USQ, Australia, Toowoomba campus
    2. 2. Where are we headed? <ul><li>From the literature </li></ul><ul><li>Context </li></ul><ul><li>Process </li></ul><ul><li>Results </li></ul><ul><li>Impacts </li></ul><ul><li>Implications for future practice </li></ul>
    3. 3. Online Learning Community <ul><li>Collaboration forms the foundation of a learning community online (Palloff & Pratt, 2005) </li></ul><ul><li>Support the learning of individuals and the group </li></ul><ul><li>Promotion of creativity and critical thinking </li></ul>
    4. 4. Learning communities online <ul><li>Online enables differentiation in participation and membership </li></ul><ul><li>No longer place based, geographically disconnected can become connected </li></ul><ul><li>Community requires social presence of the individuals </li></ul>
    5. 5. Why online? <ul><li>effective and efficient access to information and multiple others </li></ul><ul><li>“ (t)echnology tools can now bind students, peers, mentors, instructors, practicing teachers, and experts in an array of resources, discussions and curriculum recommendations” (Bonk, Angeli, Malikowsk & Supplee, 2001) </li></ul>
    6. 6. Online dialogue <ul><li>“ the reflective and explicit nature of the written word that encourages discipline and rigor in our thinking and communicating” (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 1999). </li></ul><ul><li>“ that the very basis of thinking is rooted in dialogue, drawing on a socially constructed context to endow ideas with meaning” (Hudson 2002) </li></ul><ul><li>Participants (both students and teachers) written dialogue required them to “speak”, listen, observe, challenge, support, persuade and be persuaded. </li></ul>
    7. 7. Community of practice with peers and experts <ul><li>education is “moving the emphasis of learning away from what we learn to who we learn from” (Fowler & Mayes,1999) </li></ul>
    8. 8. Benefits <ul><li>access to curriculum experts; </li></ul><ul><li>promotes deeper understanding; </li></ul><ul><li>view models of professional online interaction; and </li></ul><ul><li>time to make considered responses, reading, reacting, responding and reflecting at their own convenience </li></ul>
    9. 9. Teacher facilitator roles <ul><li>expose them to different approaches and definitions of teaching and learning; </li></ul><ul><li>to welcome them into the profession; </li></ul><ul><li>assist pre-service teachers in developing pedagogical content knowledge: provider of information, offer encouragement, negotiate meanings, give feedback, question, share experiences; </li></ul><ul><li>professional role model, provide emotional support. </li></ul>
    10. 10. Student roles <ul><li>share and critically reflect on experiences which are memorable, inspirational or bothersome; </li></ul><ul><li>explore and debate issues; </li></ul><ul><li>confirm some of their preliminary ideas about teaching or re-examine their prior understandings of learning and teaching </li></ul>
    11. 11. Student response obligation <ul><li>Course assessment </li></ul><ul><li>In hope to move the pre-service teachers’ thinking beyond recording or initial reaction and responses, engaging them in critical dialogue with others, sharing insights, carrying out research, and reflecting back </li></ul><ul><li>assessment of participation was based on </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Building and sustaining a community of learners </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Promotion of deep discussion </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Engaged in professional self reflection and metacognition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Professional standards of literacy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reflection of the online community process </li></ul></ul>
    12. 12. Context <ul><li>Exploring asynchronous conferencing tools to facilitate exploration of pedagogical practices </li></ul><ul><li>Situated in specific curriculum areas </li></ul><ul><li>Each secondary pre-service teacher involved in 2 different curriculum forums </li></ul><ul><li>2 x Curriculum courses joined in online discussion with practicing teachers </li></ul><ul><li>Across 2 different campuses, therefore 4 cohorts of students </li></ul><ul><li>Blended courses: both f2f and online components </li></ul><ul><li>Participation in online component significant assessment item for both courses </li></ul>
    13. 13. Process <ul><li>Finding an online space which would allow for multiple classes and online guests (Drupal) </li></ul><ul><li>Recruitment of curriculum specialists to act as online facilitators </li></ul><ul><li>Establishing online forums for each different curriculum community of practice </li></ul><ul><li>Establish starter questions for each week </li></ul><ul><li>Unpacking of sample postings during class – construction of understanding </li></ul>
    14. 14. Data sources <ul><li>N = 150 </li></ul><ul><li>Archived online discussion threads </li></ul><ul><li>Survey on completion </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment reflective activity </li></ul>
    15. 15. Results – The positives <ul><li>Focus questions made ‘them think’ </li></ul><ul><li>Enjoyed interaction with peers and mentors over real issues </li></ul><ul><li>Development of trust and support built confidence over time </li></ul>
    16. 16. Perceived negatives <ul><li>Too much time taken to get into online environment, find something to comment on and prepare a reflective response </li></ul><ul><li>Association with assessment </li></ul><ul><li>Unsure of the reliability of peer comments </li></ul>
    17. 17. Findings <ul><li>“ interactions were often one-way serial monologues” (Pawan, et al. 2003) </li></ul><ul><li>students like to share experiences and question their own thinking </li></ul><ul><li>Unsure of who is the leader – is it the ‘blind leading the blind?’ </li></ul>
    18. 18. Results <ul><li>the pre-service teachers regularly acknowledged previous postings, made connections to previous posts and added their own experience; </li></ul><ul><li>Responses to initial postings showed more deep understanding and integration of ideas from other sources </li></ul><ul><li>very few drew conclusions or provided other sources of information to justify comments when responding to their peers </li></ul>
    19. 19. Impacts <ul><li>New interface: new to academics, pre-service and in-service teachers – a learning curve </li></ul><ul><li>Online discussion as a means of learning rather than socializing new to many students (although range of results from exceptional to poor) </li></ul><ul><li>Time: although the online discussion replaced 2 hours of f2f + 50% of assessment students noted the increase in time commitment </li></ul><ul><li>Post/response cycle rarely evident: not dialogue, but post for sake of posting </li></ul><ul><li>Difficulty experienced adding to conversation i.e. nothing new to say </li></ul><ul><li>Variable size of groups – between 5 - 25 </li></ul>
    20. 20. Benefits <ul><li>online environment meant that facilitators were not limited to those within the local area; </li></ul><ul><li>flexibility of access in terms of time and place enabled collaboration with curriculum experts; </li></ul><ul><li>Pre-service teachers’ response obligation gave rise to the sharing of “air time”; </li></ul><ul><li>provided collaborative opportunities for pre-service, and in-service teachers to exchange ideas, ask questions, and engage in dialogue within a community of learners without the assessment associated with professional experience. </li></ul>
    21. 21. Implications <ul><li>To continue or not? </li></ul><ul><li>Time, flexibility and assessment issues </li></ul><ul><li>Development of deep thinking, and community of practice protocols </li></ul>
    22. 22. Questions? <ul><li>For more information contact: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Alison Mander, [email_address] </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Petrea Redmond, [email_address] </li></ul></ul>