Addressing Conflict in the Online Classroom

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This session examines practical strategies for dealing with conflict that arises in the online classroom. Presented at the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education portion of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education Conference, March 2009.

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Addressing Conflict in the Online Classroom

  1. 1. Practical Solutions for Addressing Conflict in the Online Classroom Teresa L. Mason, Jutta Catharine Pegues, & Lisa Bunkowski Park University Overview •Communication within the online classroom is unique and poses conflict resolution challenges. •Park University has created processes to deal with these unique challenges. ∀© 2009 Park University – College for Distance Learning
  2. 2. Park University’s Online Process •Park University is a leader in online and distance education. •Park’s College for Distance Learning (CDL) developed a comprehensive program of faculty training, support, mentoring, evaluation, and ongoing development. Practical Solutions for Addressing Conflict in the Online Classroom Mason, Pegues, & Bunkowski Park University ∀© 2009 Park University – College for Distance Learning
  3. 3. Uniqueness of Online Communication Communication Online: •Does not offer the usual social cues. •Characterized by increase in self-disclosure and feelings of anonymity, as well as a reduction of inhibitions and feelings of vulnerability. •Found to be conducive for hostile and uninhibited behavior. Conclusion: •Online faculty need to be trained to deal with these unique characteristics. Practical Solutions for Addressing Conflict in the Online Classroom Mason, Pegues, & Bunkowski Park University ∀© 2009 Park University – College for Distance Learning
  4. 4. Faculty Training and Support Step 1: Faculty Training • CDL 758 and CDL 750 train our faculty to teach online. Step 2: Faculty Mentoring • Online Instructor Mentoring Program (OIMP) provides one-on-mentoring of new faculty. Step 3: Faculty Support • CDL 751 is an online instructor resource repository and forum for ongoing faculty development. Step 4: Faculty Observation • OIES and FOO are 8 and 2 week observation/evaluation processes. On-going Support via CDL 751 New Instructor Training via CDL 750/758 Annual Observation Practical Solutions for Addressing Conflict in the Online Classroom Mason, Pegues, & Bunkowski Park University ∀© 2009 Park University – College for Distance Learning
  5. 5. ∀© 2009 Park University – College for Distance Learning Step 1: Faculty Training via CDL 750 and 758 Practical Solutions for Addressing Conflict in the Online Classroom Mason, Pegues, & Bunkowski Park University
  6. 6. ∀© 2009 Park University – College for Distance Learning Practical Solutions for Addressing Conflict in the Online Classroom Mason, Pegues, & Bunkowski Park University Step 2: Faculty Mentoring
  7. 7. Practical Solutions for Addressing Conflict in the Online Classroom Mason, Pegues, & Bunkowski Park University Step 3: Faculty Support via CDL 751 ∀© 2009 Park University – College for Distance Learning
  8. 8. Practical Solutions for Addressing Conflict in the Online Classroom Mason, Pegues, & Bunkowski Park University Step 4: Faculty Observation ∀© 2009 Park University – College for Distance Learning
  9. 9. Embedding Conflict Resolution Training and Support Step 1: Faculty Training via CDL 758 and CDL 750 • Conflict Resolution – Focus on moderating student interaction to avoid situations that can lead to conflict; especially in threaded discussions. Step 2: Faculty Mentoring via OIMP • Conflict Resolution –Supports the skills needed to prevent conflict and to mediate conflict. Step 3: Faculty Support via CDL 751 • Conflict Resolution – Instructors share successful approaches to dealing with conflict, as well as receive tutorials for application of Best Practices of online teaching. Step 4: Faculty Observation via OIES & FOO • Conflict Resolution – Monitors instructors ability to manage. Step 2: Mentor Faculty OIMP Step 3: Support Faculty CDL 751 Step 4: Observe Faculty OIES & FOO Step 1: Train Faculty CDL 750 & 758 Student Concern Procedures Student Concern Procedures •Student Complaints about an Instructor •Student Grade Appeal Process •Instructor Complaints about a Student •Plagiarism and Cheating Practical Solutions for Addressing Conflict in the Online Classroom Mason, Pegues, & Bunkowski Park University ∀© 2009 Park University – College for Distance Learning
  10. 10. Practical Solutions for Addressing Conflict in the Online Classroom Mason, Pegues, & Bunkowski Park University ∀© 2009 Park University – College for Distance Learning Complaint Instructor Student Academic Director Student Initiated Complaints Grade Appeals, etc. Resolution Consultation Positive Resolutions •First Step is always to encourage the student to work the issue out directly with the instructor. • Failing that, we encourage the instructor to resolve the matter directly with the student.
  11. 11. Practical Solutions for Addressing Conflict in the Online Classroom Mason, Pegues, & Bunkowski Park University ∀© 2009 Park University – College for Distance Learning Complaint Instructor Student Academic Director Student Initiated Complaints Grade Appeals, etc. Academic Advisory Council CDL Dean &/or Academic Dean Consultation Consultation & Final Decision Consultation & Recommendation Positive Resolutions •The next step is to convene an Academic Advisory Council to review the matter and formalize a recommendation. •The recommendation is sent to the CDL Dean who makes the final decision. Dean’s Decision
  12. 12. Practical Solutions for Addressing Conflict in the Online Classroom Mason, Pegues, & Bunkowski Park University ∀© 2009 Park University – College for Distance Learning Complaint Instructor Student Academic Director Faculty Initiated Complaints Disciplinary Issues in the Online Classroom CDL Dean &/or Academic Dean Consultation Consultation & Resolution Behavioral Issues •Academic Directors, with the support of the Dean will choose how to deal with such issues. •Resolutions can include verbal reprimands, written reprimands and removal of students from online courses Consultation & Resolution Possible Reprimand
  13. 13. Practical Solutions for Addressing Conflict in the Online Classroom Mason, Pegues, & Bunkowski Park University ∀© 2009 Park University – College for Distance Learning Instructor Student Academic Director Faculty Initiated Complaints Plagiarism, Cheating Consultation Academic Issues •For less egregious cases, the Academic Director consults with the instructor to determine the best course of action. Consultation & Resolution Complaint University-supported Reprimand
  14. 14. Practical Solutions for Addressing Conflict in the Online Classroom Mason, Pegues, & Bunkowski Park University ∀© 2009 Park University – College for Distance Learning Complaint Instructor Student Academic Director Faculty Initiated Complaints Plagiarism, Cheating CDL Dean &/or Academic Dean Consultation Consultation & Final Decision Academic Issues •For egregious cases an Academic Advisory Council is convened. •The Council makes a recommendation to the CDL Dean who makes the final decision. Consultation & Decision Possible Reprimand Academic Advisory Council Consultation & Recommendation
  15. 15. Practical Solutions for Addressing Conflict in the Online Classroom Mason, Pegues, & Bunkowski Park University ∀© 2009 Park University – College for Distance Learning Complaint Instructor Academic Director Faculty Initiated Complaints Issues with Faculty Members, Staff, &/or Administrators CDL Dean &/or Academic Dean Consultation Academic & Professional Issues •The Academic Director consults with the relevant parties to help resolve the issues. Consultation Human Resources Consultation Department Chairs & Program Coordinators Consultation
  16. 16. For more information contact: Park University •Teresa Mason, Ph.D. teresa.mason@park.edu , •Jutta Pegues, Ph.D. jutta.pegues@park.edu , or Texas A&M University-Central Texas (Tarleton State University) •Lisa Bunkowski, Ph.D. lisa.bunkowski@ct.tamus.edu ∀© 2009 Park University – College for Distance Learning Practical Solutions for Addressing Conflict in the Online Classroom Mason, Pegues, & Bunkowski Park University
  17. 17. ∀© 2009 Park University – College for Distance Learning Practical Solutions for Addressing Conflict in the Online Classroom Mason, Pegues, & Bunkowski Park University
  18. 18. ∀© 2009 Park University – College for Distance Learning Practical Solutions for Addressing Conflict in the Online Classroom Mason, Pegues, & Bunkowski Park University
  19. 19. ∀© 2009 Park University – College for Distance Learning Practical Solutions for Addressing Conflict in the Online Classroom Mason, Pegues, & Bunkowski Park University

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