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Guest ​​​​​​​Pedagogy


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Guest ​​​​​​​Pedagogy

Transformative learning or Transformative pedagogy "encourages students to critically examine their assumptions, grapple with social issues, and engage in social action" ( p. 219). Five suggestions for preparing the online environment for transformative pedagogy are: "(a) create a safe and inviting environment; (b) encourage students to think about their experiences, beliefs, and biases; (c) use teaching strategies that promote student engagement and participation; (d) pose real-world problems that address societal inequalities; and (e) help students implement action-oriented solutions" (p. 220). There are four fundamental characteristics that may assist with the success of online instruction: (1) the learner should be actively engaged throughout the course; (2) group participation can assist with meeting course objectives; (3) frequent student-student and student-teacher interaction can alleviate the feelings of isolation; and (4) the course content should relate to the real world to enhance meaning for participants.

Participation and interaction between participants and instructors involves significant and continuous preparation. Online educators are often members of a larger team consisting of instructional and graphic designers and information technology specialists; being open to becoming a member of the team will assist in a smooth transition to online teaching. Expectations of learners to be self-motivated, able to manage their time effectively, contribute to course discussions and have a willingness to teach others is not unlike what is expected in a traditional classroom. The instructor's role is to encourage learners to evaluate and analyze information, then connect the information to course content which may assist in learner success. With the potential for learners to feel disconnected from peers within the course, the instructor will need to work to create spaces and encounters which promote socialization. A few recommendations are to create a "student lounge" as an informal space for socialization not related to coursework. Also, incorporating team projects can help alleviate feelings of isolation. Online instructors should be cognizant of where participants are physically located; when members of the course span two or more time zones, the timing of the course can become problematic. Initial preparation of an online course is often more time consuming than preparation for the classroom. The material must be prepared and posted, in its entirety, prior to the course start. In addition to preparation, faculty experienced in online instruction spend about 30% more time on courses conducted online. The mentoring of novice online educators from those with experience can assist with the transition from classroom to the virtual environment.

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