Jane S. Lohmann, Judith V. Boettcher
Date of Award
Doctor of Education
Department or Academic Unit
College of Professional Studies, Department of Education
education, educational technology, pedagogy, blogs, faculty, higher education, online teaching, phenomenological study, qualitative study
This research concerns the potential of online teaching to prompt university faculty members to reflect on the essence of good teaching, and as a result enhance their pedagogy in both online and face-to-face courses. Ideas of developmental psychologists melded with related concepts from online-learning theorists were used as a theoretical framework for identifying key cognitive steps in the process of rethinking what it means to teach well. In particular, catalysts that can help motivate faculty to rethink teaching were suggested by the views of developmental psychologists Vygotsky, Piaget and Bruner about the social context within which learning takes place, the advantages of learning from and with peers, and the value of cognitive dissonance as an impetus to learning; additional catalysts were suggested by the views of online-learning theorists Dede, Ally, Mayes, Moore and Swann about the ways that innovative technologies and web-based learning affect how people interact. To investigate how, and the degree to which, these potential catalysts actually come into play in online teaching, a phenomenological research study was carried out based on interviews with six experienced university faculty members concerning their experiences designing and teaching online courses, with special emphasis on how their views of good teaching may have changed during that process. The study highlighted catalysts that in most but not all cases helped to bring about the faculty members' re-examination of pedagogical assumptions as they planned and taught online courses and reflected on the experience. The catalysts included the novel online-learning environment, new roles and relationships the participants encountered during the process of teaching online, the unfamiliar course-design process, and new forms of interaction they encountered. As more students take courses online and more faculty members are called upon to teach such courses, institutions of higher education have an opportunity to improve pedagogy both by tapping into teachers' passion for teaching and by making the most of the catalysts illuminated in this study.
Alicia K. Russell
Russell, Alicia K., "Catalysts for re-examining pedagogical assumptions: a phenomenological inquiry into higher education faculty designing and teaching online courses" (2011). Education Doctoral Theses. Paper 2. http://hdl.handle.net/2047/d20002125
Click button above to open, or right-click to save.