Teachers' beliefs and values in a transformative online learning environment
AbstractPressures to deliver on outcomes based education, combined with compelling forces to use technology for flexible delivery, has resulted in a rapid growth of online courses in universities. The web environment can be viewed as a storehouse of information, or as an interactive environment where people from diverse backgrounds can share their learning journeys. To claim a corner of this space and to bring people together to discuss their ideas can mirror seminar rooms in universities. With the right tools and support, teachers can use the web to teach in accord with their preferred epistemological framework. At Curtin University, one online teacher has created a transformative, online learning environment for doctoral students studying constructivist theory. Here, students are invited to share their understandings of the subject as well as their beliefs and values (Taylor, 1988). This paper discusses a research project where I will examine some of the ways students use the online discussion forum. Central to my study is the question: How can teachers use online discussions to encourage students' critical reflective thinking? My research will be done in collaboration with selected students, their online tutor and the designer of Moodle, the software for the online learning environment (http://moodle.com/).