Online Composition Classes for a Pedagogical Paradigm Shift: Students as Cartographers of their own Knowledge Maps
KeywordsStudent Centered Pedagogy in Distance Education
Dialogue and Learning in Online Composition Course
English Language and Literature
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AbstractMy dissertation research focuses on how students create knowledge in a classroom community, more specifically how taking an online course impacts students’ learning and ultimately, students’ knowledge making. Since the online course presents a closed community, the Blackboard site is the only “learning site” for the students in the course. Since I am researching online Bb communities, the context of the research invites ethnographical methods, both qualitative data or narratives to describe each online community’s “health” and quantitative analysis of the student dialogue threads on the forums. This ethnographic study focuses on the impact of pedagogical styles on the learning processes of online composition students. In the spring semester of 2005, I observed two Blackboard online course sites: one taught as a teacher-centered course and one taught as a student-centered course. I researched the archived course sites looking for evidence of positive communal health in the communication exchanges between student and student, as well as between student and instructor. I also analyzed the discussion board forums for evidence of transformative learning in the student dialogues. This dissertation study compares the pedagogical strategies of teacher-centered and student-centered online courses, reflects the impact of communal health on the online course community, sheds light on how communal health influences the student’s ability to move through the transformative learning process, as well as poses questions for further research.