Abstract: Evidence from a grounded analysis study (Greener 2008) of UK teachers using blended learning (face to face and online learning using Learning Content Management Systems) suggested that the relative identities of teachers and learners could change online affecting the role an individual or group took in the learning process. In relation to the teacher’s role, the development of the Community of Inquiry model by Garrison, Anderson and Archer (2003) can help us to disassociate the role of “teacher” from the potentially all-powerful individual at the head of a physical classroom, to the three overlapping types of presence online (social, cognitive and teaching) described in the model. While Palloff and Pratt (2001) merely touch on the need for faculty to give up a degree of control (p153) when teaching online, this study supports more closely the Garrison et al analysis. Not only was there support for the idea of quieter students and those being taught in a non-native language changing roles and becoming more dominant in asynchronous communication online, but the teacher’s status was also challenged, both in asynchronous and synchronous messaging and through the students’ access to web resources from universities world-wide. It seems that human nature abhors a vacuum online as teachers in this study experienced ways in which identity could be constructed through text discussion, based on perceived effort, curiosity, maturity and perceptions of others’ learning preferences and behaviours. Pedagogic focus affected teachers’ perceptions of what kinds of learning could be achieved through LCMS technologies, with learner-centred teachers defiantly optimistic about the affordances of online learning despite the technical, political and confidence barriers experienced. They were prepared to step back after their initial input in “designing” the learning environment, once learners had started to feel at home there, moving towards a situation where learners sourced and shared resources, set agendas and contributed to debate, while the teacher was able to become a reinvigorated learner within the virtual group. This study of enthusiastic teachers in Higher Education innovating at a time of transition to digital environments offers a challenge to less enthusiastic online teachers as their traditional authority status is changed with role shifts and conflicts. The potential equalising effect of the medium between learner and teacher does not enhance the role of the learner at the expense of the teacher, but puts both in the happy position of learner, albeit with concessions to the teacher’s additional experience and knowledge. . Keywords: online learning, teacher role, pedagogy
Identity crisis: who is teaching whom online?
Dr Sue Greener Brighton Business School, University of Brighton, UK [email_address]
<ul><li>Context of this study </li></ul><ul><li>Transition in Higher Education Institutions </li></ul><ul><li>What do pioneering teachers do with LCMS structures? </li></ul><ul><li>How are learner and teacher roles changing in this increasingly exciting environment? </li></ul><ul><li>Qualitative Doctoral study exploring perspectives of pioneering teachers in HE </li></ul>Photo courtesy of Microsoft Office online
November 2008 Picture courtesy of Microsoft Office online
<ul><li>Major impact on students’ learning (Trigwell 1995, Alexander 2001) </li></ul><ul><li>Community of Inquiry Framework (Garrison, Anderson, Archer 2000) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Social, cognitive and teacher presence required for development of community of inquiry in graduate programmes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Aimed at higher order learning based on asynchronous computer conferencing </li></ul></ul>
Teachers’ expectations from the study relevant searching, reading within the course site and through weblinks, posting messages and discussing, posting other artefacts and critiquing, following prepared courses of study, viewing, reviewing and evaluating information, reflecting and sharing through blogs, wikis and journals, doing tests and surveys, producing revision notes .
<ul><li>Reciprocity and co-operation enabled online – student/student interaction </li></ul><ul><li>Students taking over teacher role </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile learning: ‘the processes of coming to know through conversations across multiple contexts </li></ul><ul><li>amongst people and </li></ul><ul><li>personal interactive </li></ul><ul><li>technologies’ (Sharples et </li></ul><ul><li>al 2009) </li></ul>
<ul><li>Online feedback: more personalised potential </li></ul><ul><li>Sharing feedback with groups for later retrieval </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher pedagogy makes the difference – espoused theory is constructivist but theory-in-action? </li></ul>
<ul><li>Reconciling a directive teacher presence with more equal status with learners online </li></ul><ul><li>A challenging shift in teachers’ understanding of teaching in Higher Education for some </li></ul><ul><li>Loss of “sole expert” identity can be a result of and input to the online learning and teaching process – becoming a “lead learner” </li></ul><ul><li>But increased power for teacher in design upfront – consistent with their pedagogy </li></ul><ul><li>OK – subject to the constraints of the technology and HEI policies! </li></ul><ul><li>Role conflicts? Role shifts? Challenging times! </li></ul>
November 2008 Photo courtesy of Microsoft clips online
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Dr Sue Greener Brighton Business School, University of Brighton, UK [email_address] ,