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U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n d www.usq.edu.au Exploring Pedagogical Practice within an Online Learning Community Alison Mander,

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Presentation on theme: "U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n d www.usq.edu.au Exploring Pedagogical Practice within an Online Learning Community Alison Mander,"— Presentation transcript:

1 U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n d Exploring Pedagogical Practice within an Online Learning Community Alison Mander, Petrea Redmond, USQ, Australia, Toowoomba campus

2 T h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n dU n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n d Where are we headed? From the literatureFrom the literature ContextContext ProcessProcess ResultsResults ImpactsImpacts Implications for future practiceImplications for future practice

3 T h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n dU n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n d Online Learning Community Collaboration forms the foundation of a learning community online (Palloff & Pratt, 2005)Collaboration forms the foundation of a learning community online (Palloff & Pratt, 2005) Support the learning of individuals and the groupSupport the learning of individuals and the group Promotion of creativity and critical thinkingPromotion of creativity and critical thinking

4 T h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n dU n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n d Learning communities online Online enables differentiation in participation and membershipOnline enables differentiation in participation and membership No longer place based, geographically disconnected can become connectedNo longer place based, geographically disconnected can become connected Community requires social presence of the individualsCommunity requires social presence of the individuals

5 T h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n dU n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n d Why online? effective and efficient access to information and multiple otherseffective and efficient access to information and multiple others “(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)“(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)

6 T h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n dU n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n d Online dialogue “the reflective and explicit nature of the written word that encourages discipline and rigor in our thinking and communicating” (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 1999).“the reflective and explicit nature of the written word that encourages discipline and rigor in our thinking and communicating” (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 1999). “that the very basis of thinking is rooted in dialogue, drawing on a socially constructed context to endow ideas with meaning” (Hudson 2002)“that the very basis of thinking is rooted in dialogue, drawing on a socially constructed context to endow ideas with meaning” (Hudson 2002) Participants (both students and teachers) written dialogue required them to “speak”, listen, observe, challenge, support, persuade and be persuaded.Participants (both students and teachers) written dialogue required them to “speak”, listen, observe, challenge, support, persuade and be persuaded.

7 T h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n dU n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n d Community of practice with peers and experts education is “moving the emphasis of learning away from what we learn to who we learn from” (Fowler & Mayes,1999)education is “moving the emphasis of learning away from what we learn to who we learn from” (Fowler & Mayes,1999)

8 T h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n dU n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n dBenefits access to curriculum experts;access to curriculum experts; promotes deeper understanding;promotes deeper understanding; view models of professional online interaction; andview models of professional online interaction; and time to make considered responses, reading, reacting, responding and reflecting at their own conveniencetime to make considered responses, reading, reacting, responding and reflecting at their own convenience

9 T h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n dU n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n d Teacher facilitator roles expose them to different approaches and definitions of teaching and learning;expose them to different approaches and definitions of teaching and learning; to welcome them into the profession;to welcome them into the profession; assist pre-service teachers in developing pedagogical content knowledge: provider of information, offer encouragement, negotiate meanings, give feedback, question, share experiences;assist pre-service teachers in developing pedagogical content knowledge: provider of information, offer encouragement, negotiate meanings, give feedback, question, share experiences; professional role model, provide emotional support.professional role model, provide emotional support.

10 T h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n dU n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n d Student roles share and critically reflect on experiences which are memorable, inspirational or bothersome;share and critically reflect on experiences which are memorable, inspirational or bothersome; explore and debate issues;explore and debate issues; confirm some of their preliminary ideas about teaching or re-examine their prior understandings of learning and teachingconfirm some of their preliminary ideas about teaching or re-examine their prior understandings of learning and teaching

11 T h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n dU n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n d Student response obligation Course assessmentCourse assessment 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 backIn 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 assessment of participation was based onassessment of participation was based on –Building and sustaining a community of learners –Promotion of deep discussion –Engaged in professional self reflection and metacognition –Professional standards of literacy –Reflection of the online community process

12 T h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n dU n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n dContext Exploring asynchronous conferencing tools to facilitate exploration of pedagogical practicesExploring asynchronous conferencing tools to facilitate exploration of pedagogical practices Situated in specific curriculum areasSituated in specific curriculum areas Each secondary pre-service teacher involved in 2 different curriculum forumsEach secondary pre-service teacher involved in 2 different curriculum forums 2 x Curriculum courses joined in online discussion with practicing teachers2 x Curriculum courses joined in online discussion with practicing teachers Across 2 different campuses, therefore 4 cohorts of studentsAcross 2 different campuses, therefore 4 cohorts of students Blended courses: both f2f and online componentsBlended courses: both f2f and online components Participation in online component significant assessment item for both coursesParticipation in online component significant assessment item for both courses

13 T h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n dU n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n dProcess Finding an online space which would allow for multiple classes and online guests (Drupal)Finding an online space which would allow for multiple classes and online guests (Drupal) Recruitment of curriculum specialists to act as online facilitatorsRecruitment of curriculum specialists to act as online facilitators Establishing online forums for each different curriculum community of practiceEstablishing online forums for each different curriculum community of practice Establish starter questions for each weekEstablish starter questions for each week Unpacking of sample postings during class – construction of understandingUnpacking of sample postings during class – construction of understanding

14 T h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n dU n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n d Data sources N = 150N = 150 Archived online discussion threadsArchived online discussion threads Survey on completionSurvey on completion Assessment reflective activityAssessment reflective activity

15 T h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n dU n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n d Results – The positives Focus questions made ‘them think’Focus questions made ‘them think’ Enjoyed interaction with peers and mentors over real issuesEnjoyed interaction with peers and mentors over real issues Development of trust and support built confidence over timeDevelopment of trust and support built confidence over time

16 T h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n dU n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n d Perceived negatives Too much time taken to get into online environment, find something to comment on and prepare a reflective responseToo much time taken to get into online environment, find something to comment on and prepare a reflective response Association with assessmentAssociation with assessment Unsure of the reliability of peer commentsUnsure of the reliability of peer comments

17 T h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n dU n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n dFindings “interactions were often one-way serial monologues” (Pawan, et al. 2003)“interactions were often one-way serial monologues” (Pawan, et al. 2003) students like to share experiences and question their own thinkingstudents like to share experiences and question their own thinking Unsure of who is the leader – is it the ‘blind leading the blind?’Unsure of who is the leader – is it the ‘blind leading the blind?’

18 T h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n dU n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n dResults the pre-service teachers regularly acknowledged previous postings, made connections to previous posts and added their own experience;the pre-service teachers regularly acknowledged previous postings, made connections to previous posts and added their own experience; Responses to initial postings showed more deep understanding and integration of ideas from other sourcesResponses to initial postings showed more deep understanding and integration of ideas from other sources very few drew conclusions or provided other sources of information to justify comments when responding to their peersvery few drew conclusions or provided other sources of information to justify comments when responding to their peers

19 T h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n dU n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n dImpacts New interface: new to academics, pre-service and in-service teachers – a learning curveNew interface: new to academics, pre-service and in-service teachers – a learning curve Online discussion as a means of learning rather than socializing new to many students (although range of results from exceptional to poor)Online discussion as a means of learning rather than socializing new to many students (although range of results from exceptional to poor) Time: although the online discussion replaced 2 hours of f2f + 50% of assessment students noted the increase in time commitmentTime: although the online discussion replaced 2 hours of f2f + 50% of assessment students noted the increase in time commitment Post/response cycle rarely evident: not dialogue, but post for sake of postingPost/response cycle rarely evident: not dialogue, but post for sake of posting Difficulty experienced adding to conversation i.e. nothing new to sayDifficulty experienced adding to conversation i.e. nothing new to say Variable size of groups – between Variable size of groups – between

20 T h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n dU n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n dBenefits online environment meant that facilitators were not limited to those within the local area;online environment meant that facilitators were not limited to those within the local area; flexibility of access in terms of time and place enabled collaboration with curriculum experts;flexibility of access in terms of time and place enabled collaboration with curriculum experts; Pre-service teachers’ response obligation gave rise to the sharing of “air time”;Pre-service teachers’ response obligation gave rise to the sharing of “air time”; 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.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.

21 T h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n dU n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n dImplications To continue or not?To continue or not? Time, flexibility and assessment issuesTime, flexibility and assessment issues Development of deep thinking, and community of practice protocolsDevelopment of deep thinking, and community of practice protocols

22 T h e U n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n dU n i v e r s i t y o f S o u t h e r n Q u e e n s l a n dQuestions? For more information contact:For more information contact: –Alison Mander, –Petrea Redmond,


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