Why is learning online so different? Research shows that attrition rates continue to be much higher for online learners than those in face-to-face or blended contexts (Bawa, 2016). Evidence suggests that whilst online provision gives more access to education, once inside the digital space those learners can find that they are in fact more disadvantaged and that achievement gaps are widened (Moore & Greenland, 2016; Kizalic & Halwala, 2015). Furthermore, students’ experience of teaching presence and sense of community consistently receive poor feedback for fully online courses. There is an element of care-less-ness in the provision of online education. With aims to provide an accessible education for all through a dependence on technology, have we lost sight of the individual and ‘the practice of being human’ (Stommel & Morris, 2018)? When we have numbers of students in their 100s in one class, scattered across the globe, how do we demonstrate individual care?
This talk will reflect on the practice of designing education and developing teaching in a fully online university. It will present some of the specific difficulties for fully online programmes of study, and explore how using pedagogical caring as a learning design concept, building knowledge of students and acknowledgement of presence (Hooks, 1994) can start to address these.
Participants attending the session in person or remotely will be invited to contribute their thoughts and reflections to a series of idea statements in a collaborative online space which will continue to be developed after the event. They are also invited to explore are repurpose a growing collection of Creative Commons licensed learning design resources produced by the presenter and colleagues at https://blog.ucem.ac.uk/onlineeducation/ldc.
This will be the third in a series of talks (Lindsay, 2019 & 2020) which asks for reflection and debate from the educational community to openly and collaboratively build a transformative approach to online education. An approach where a scaffolding of KARE (Kind, Accessible, Reflective, Engaged) supports a more connected and personalised student experience with improved student outcomes.
Bawa, P. (2016). Retention in Online Courses: Exploring Issues and Solutions—A Literature Review. SAGE Open. Volume: 6 issue: 1. Available online: https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244015621777 (Accessed 4 December 2019).
Hooks, B. (1994). Teaching to Transgress: Education As The Practice Of Freedom. New York : Routledge.
Kizilcec, F., & Halawa,S. (2015). Attrition and Achievement Gaps in Online Learning. In Proceedings of the Second (2015) ACM Conference on Learning @ Scale ([email protected] ’15). ACM, New York: ACM, [57-66].
Lindsay, K. (2019). Reaching through the screen: KARE as a new scaffolding to support online education. Association of Learning Technology Annual Conference. 4 September, Edinburgh.
Lindsay, K. (2020). The scale of kindness. Digital Pedagogy Lab. 10 March, Milton Keynes.
Moore, C., & Greenland, S. (2017). Employment-driven online student attrition and the assessment policy divide: An Australian open-access higher education perspective. Journal of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning, 21(1), [52–62.].
Morris, S., & Stommel, J. (2018) An Urgency of Teachers: the work of critical digital pedagogy. Available at: https://urgencyofteachers.com/ (Accessed 4 December 2019).