Handbook of Research on Transformative Online Education and Liberation: Models for Social Equality

Handbook of Research on Transformative Online Education and Liberation: Models for Social Equality

Gulsun Kurubacak (Anadolu University, Turkey) and T. Volkan Yuzer (Anadolu University, Turkey)
Indexed In: SCOPUS View 1 More Indices
Release Date: October, 2010|Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 594
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-046-4
ISBN13: 9781609600464|ISBN10: 1609600460|EISBN13: 9781609600471
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Description & Coverage

Online education has the potential to utilize cutting-edge technologies in order to bring together learners, e-facilitators, and e-contents.

The Handbook of Research on Transformative Online Education and Liberation: Models for Social Equality discusses the potential for transformative models to liberate online education. With a focus on the societal, social, political, economic, and philosophical perspectives of transformative models, this handbook examines how digital learning communities foster critical reflections and prospective change, particularly within virtual groups. This scrutiny of transformative models serves to educate faculty, administrators, professionals, researchers, community activists, and parents on the injustices that challenge digital societies.


The many academic areas covered in this publication include, but are not limited to:

  • 3D Multi-User Virtual Worlds
  • Building Global Citizens
  • Disparities in Healthcare and Education
  • E-Governance and Democracy
  • Fostering Relationships in Virtual Learning Communities
  • Liberation and Social Equality in Transformative Online Education
  • Multicultural Education 2.0
  • Transformative Multicultural Engagement
  • Transformative Polymorphic Model
  • Using ICT to Develop a Bi-national Education Research Community
Reviews and Testimonials

Recent events have dramatically demonstrated how online media can promote sociopolitical change. Applied communication professors at Anadolu University, Turkey, head a team of international contributors to provide a resource on how distance learning can offer models of transformative education. Topics treated in 26 chapters include theoretical underpinnings, opportunities and challenges in pursuing critical multicultural engagement on social equity issues through Web 2.0; improving online science instruction; using information and communication technology (ICT) to create transnational research communities; integrating virtual worlds into online classrooms to foster innovation; drawing on the concept of Buddhist detachment as a reference point; and employing ICT to overcome discrimination, prejudice, and disparities in education and health care. ...

– Sci Tech Book News, BookNews.com
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Editor Biographies
Gulsun Kurubacak is an Associate Professor in Applied Communication at the College of Open Education of Anadolu University. She undertook graduate studies at Anadolu University, Turkey (MA. Educational Technology) and the University of Cincinnati, USA (Ed.D. Curriculum & Instruction), and also worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the College of Education at New Mexico State University, USA (2001-2002). She is currently a graduate student in the Department of Computer and Instructional Technologies, and also an undergraduate student in the Computer Engineering at the College of Informatics Technologies and Engineering of Hoca Ahmet Yesevi International Turk-Kazakhstani University. Dr. Kurubacak has over twenty-five years experience in focusing on the democratic and multicultural aspects of distance education; finding new answers, viewpoints, and explanations to online communication problems through critical pedagogy; and improving learner critical thinking skills through project-based online learning. She continues to manage and provide pedagogical support for distance learning programs.
T. Volkan Yuzer is an Associate Professor in Applied Communication at the College of Open Education, Anadolu University, Turkey. His research interests are new communication technologies, synchronous, asynchronous, and interactive communications, and transformative learning milieus in distance and online education. He has over fifteen years experience in exploring additional distance learning media and providing communication and technological support for distance learning programs as well as developing online learning courses. He has participated in projects related to distance learning, online synchronous learning, and the virtual classroom.
Editorial Review Board
  • Amelia W. Cheney, Appalachian State University, USA
  • Bamidele A. OJO, Fairleigh Dickinson University, USA
  • Blessing Foluso Adeoye, University of Lagos, Nigeria
  • Colin Latchem, Curtin University , Australia
  • Elsie M. Szecsy, Arizona State University, USA
  • H. Prentice Baptiste, New Mexico State University, USA
  • Jason Goulah, DePaul University, USA
  • M. Fragaki, University of Athens, Greece
  • Teresa Coffman, College of Southern Maryland, USA,
  • A. Lionarakis, University of Athens, Greece
  • Figen Kilic, Mersin University, Turkey
  • Mary S. Jackson, East Carolina University, USA
  • Christine Clark, National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME), USA
  • Rudolfo Chávez Chávez, New Mexico State University, USA
  • Ruth Gannon-Cook, DePaul University, USA
  • Shalin Hai-Jew, Kansas State University, USA
  • Vardan Mkrttchian, HHH University, Australia
  • Warren J. Blumenfeld, Iowa State University, USA
  • Mustafa Yunus Eryaman, Canakkale Onsekiz Mart Universitesi, Turkey
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The main purpose of this proposed book is to discuss the potential for transformative models to liberate online education. The unique approach of the proposed publication brings together online education, transformative models, and liberation in an edited book at the same time. Based on the title of the book, online education for liberation focuses on the societal, social, political, economic and philosophical perspectives of transformative models how digital learning communities foster critical reflections and perspective change; experience systemic or covert discriminations; and also discuss the liberation topic from a progressive viewpoint. Thus, the proposed publication attempts to build a better understanding on how online educators/designers/tutors/learners can talk about injustice and inequality to a virtual group with an identity of privilege, and revealing about racism and cover racism to diverse people, sexism to men and women, heterosexism to straight people. This is important to scrutinize transformative models how to bring a global and multicultural partnership of faculty, administrators, professionals, teachers, community activists, researchers and parents as well as understand and challenge the injustices digital societies face.

The subject area of the proposed book is online (distance) education as the widest coverage area. Online education has a potential to utilize cutting-edge technologies to bring together learners, e-facilitators/tutors and e-contents. On the other hand, technology itself does not reveal how political, cultural and ideological perspectives of oppressed groups sneakily determine who or what is responsible for an event, action and activity in online social networks. Online education explains the social needs of online participants who have the diverse race, gender, ethnicity, religious, language, size, cultural and social backgrounds with or without disabilities whereas liberation is the theoretical point of view. Also, this book is aimed to analyze and explain these two crucial issues with transformative models. These models are discussed philosophically under social justice, online freedom, innovation, creativity, inclusion, culture, discourse, feminism, ecology, spirituality, so on. Therefore, the publication narrow down and consider these timely and important issues. As a result, this book investigates the critical answers of what is online education for liberation; what are the strong-bases of transformative models for the potential distance learners; who are deceitfully manipulated by the online groups; and who have the political, cultural and economical power, which can be very hard for ordinary digital individuals to realize their thoughts are shaped and oppressed by the anti-egalitarian online groups.

Overall objectives and mission of this publication focus on the root of the trouble of online education for liberation by emphasizing on diverse online cultural backgrounds, poor sharing e-resources, and inadequate e-facilities as well as underpaid e-labors. In this context, transformative models refer to ideas of justice applied to a complete online society based on not only giving digital individuals and groups’ fair action, but also sharing the benefits of free online society. On the other hand, the book focuses on what means online education for liberation, and how different political ideologies and different conceptions lies in unbalanced political powers, unequal incomes, insufficient sources in virtual world. Based on this approach, this reflects a radical approach in which human rights and equity are manifested in the everyday digital lives of people from every level of online society. These distinguished and careful analyses are the most important critics of online community actions, and also provide unprejudiced point of views of the progress for transformative models against several online opponents. In this context, this book critically discusses a digital global world where all participants of this online society, regardless of their diverse backgrounds, have indispensable human rights and equal access to their community's prosperities and resources.

The publishing presents sufficient explanations, interpretations, comparisons, developments, illustrations, constructions, realizations, debating and questionings on online education for liberation with transformative models. This capacity of this editorial book serves information science in two main dimensions: First, this book provides a general knowledge on both online education and liberation. Secondly, the book highlights how to transform the information from the ideas to the real world considering transformative online learning issues. In short, this book discusses the viewpoints, beliefs and values of online power elites, and also discover new communication technologies and their relationships how to conduct online collaborations to societal and educational change in the digital world. Finally, as global online education continues to flourish, digital liberation becomes more critical for lifelong learners to realize not only the surface but also breadth and deeper meanings in presenting these virtual milieus. Formal and informal online education not only is very diverse and complex but also enables intense communication across social, cultural and political restrictions while educating and entertaining. Hidden biases associated with hate, stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination on online learning communities, furthermore, can be delivered by several hate groups, who specifically target digital people. Besides, due to representing the personality of the providers/designers, the main purpose of this book discusses the social, cultural and political forces determining information quality and the rich array of online education. Especially, this book, painted a more realistic and accurate portrait of biases in online world, is to learn how to better promote the most important of diverse backgrounds, ethnocentrism and antiracist equity in online education by increasing emphasis on liberation, transformative models and cultural multiculturalism.

This book, consisting of 25 chapters, is divided into eight sections: Introduction; Golden Ratio for Critical Reflections; Momentum and Hope for Social Justice; Transformative Power and Voice for Digital Citizenship; Progressive Infrastructure for Perspective Change; Digital Leadership and Possibility of Change; The Face of Utopias and Truths for Transformation, and Online Injustice, Poverty and Fear. Specially;

•    Chapter I discusses concepts considered in transformative online education when keeping in mind worldwide meetings, cultures and societies as well as increasing creativity, critical thinking, self awareness and positive changes of people. These are liberation and social equality. Finding and understanding the infrastructure based on liberation and social equality in the transformative online education is the main issue of this chapter.

•    Chapter II discusses theoretical underpinnings, contradictions, opportunities, and challenges of pursuing online critical multicultural education engagement through Web 2.0 interface (MCE 2.0). Conceptualized within the social constructivist paradigm, critical MCE 2.0 is always in-the-making (emergent and discursive) phenomenon/endeavor that incorporates critical pedagogy, critical media/digital literacies, and Web 2.0 affordances as a praxis for transformative multicultural education while critically examining the pressing socio-cultural issues including cultural reproduction, power differentials, racial hierarchies, ideological social discourses, and class dominance.

•    Chapter III underlines that science as a discipline has gone through many paradigm shifts, both in terms of scientific knowledge and science pedagogy. One recent trend is the movement of science courses into an online environment. While this shift started as supplemental instruction, a movement in education is to offer entire science courses, normally taught in a face-to-face format, online. Moving science instruction into this type of environment illuminates many challenges in science education to a different and critical level. These challenges include issues in equity, accountability, identity formation, and appropriate pedagogical practices.

•    Chapter IV
reports on the use of information and communication technology (ICT) as a “leveling device” between colleagues dispersed across the United States and México, who shared similar education research interests but came from different research traditions. I report on the use of various ICT tools in a process that began in 2006 with a small planning group distributed across México and the United States; grew to include additional participants who met face-to-face in Monterrey, México, in 2007; and continued afterward into 2008 through ICT-mediated mechanisms that were structured to maintain purposeful linkages among colleagues dispersed across two countries.

•    Chapter V focuses for encouraging new technologies into the teaching and learning environment is to foster creativity and innovation in the 21st century learner so that inventive thinkers, collaborative problem solvers, and transformative leaders can emerge from our global educational system. Concerns regarding diversity, social equality, and accessibility to the technology tools are addressed with emphasis on the need to provide open systems so that our knowledge based global economy can thrive and all students can emerge as competent global citizens.

•    Chapter VI discusses that drawing on the concept of “Buddhist detachment,” this chapter focuses on how the “distance” between students, and between students and faculty, imposed by the online teaching and learning environment, though typically viewed as antithetical to progressive educational pedagogy, can actually be integral to its realization.  This chapter explored the relationship between transformative online education and liberation through the delineation of an educational pseudo-model for social equity based on my experiences of progressively-minded teaching in the online environment.  

•    Chapter VII examines one of America’s most vulnerable groups, African American children. Its intent is to remind readers of the importance of working toward continued efforts to ensure that children are not forgotten or lost in the ever-expanding global awareness of technological advances. The focus on health care and education is to provide a cursory view of the past, awaken a consideration for the present, and solicit anticipation of the future for these African American children if they continue to be the underserved population in American society.

•    Chapter VIII seeks to examine the impact of e-governance to demonstrate the challenges facing transformative online education in promoting social equality in Africa, while also taking cognizance of the effect of prevailing socio-political and economic factors affecting the access to, the provision of and distribution of new technology and its effectiveness as a tool for promoting the latter (social equality) on the continent. However e-governance as a means of promoting greater participation through the internet and online facilities has become an important part of the new medium because it allows people to interact more with their government and provides transparency in governance.

•    Chapter IX discusses the roots and causes of prejudice and discrimination and, using examples from around the globe, illustrates ways in which ICT can be used to unlearn these learned behaviours in educational and community contexts.  The lessons of history and findings of social psychologists suggest that there will always be some clash of cultures in the world. Nevertheless, it is important to try to find ways of overcoming prejudice and discrimination. These demean us as well as others, and the challenges facing our world require everyone to try to reconcile their differences and work together.

•    Chapter X creates a case based on Noddings’ framework for the ethic of care, and argues that virtual learning environments can meet and exceed these conditions. A focus on interpersonal relationships and the creation of caring, democratic learning experiences may cause some to reject virtual learning environments because of a belief that physical proximity is necessary for the building of substantial relationships. Despite this concern, a carefully crafted 3D immersive learning environment can provide similar interpersonal experiences, and can foster the creation of caring relationships in ways that are often difficult in face-to-face settings. Based on more than nine years of work in Appalachian State University’s Appalachian Educational Technology (AET) Zone.

•    Chapter XI presents a Transformative Polymorphic Model for training, researching and teaching, a learning community of educators, which involves the integration of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) into the educational practice. It refers to ideas of justice, applied to an entire online society, based on not only giving digital individuals and groups’ fair action, but also sharing the benefits of free online society. It promotes transformative learning by way of emancipator education that fosters the human rights and equity that manifest in the everyday digital lives of people, from every level of online society.

•    Chapter XII presents the concepts of creative coexistence and value-creation pedagogy as foundational components of transformative online education for liberation and social self-actualization required in the 21st century. The author couches this discussion in recent socio-political (mis)uses of new media in Iran and China and presents examples in practice by pre- and in-service teachers and adolescent second and foreign language learners in the United States.

•    Chapter XIII discusses that with the popularization of global e-learning, built on unprecedented information technology (IT) connectivity and content distribution via the WWW and Internet, instructors have a responsibility to use these resources to build savvy learners who are also responsible global citizens.  The Web acclimates and acculturates individuals into a global culture haphazardly.  A more purposive learning approach may more constructively promote the long-held goal of liberation-based learning.   A more pro-social state-of-being may be realized with designed e-learning assignments that promote learner empathy, reveal the limits of human nature, and provide supports for initial steps towards social equality.  This then provides a model for online learning assignment design with an eye towards transformation and liberation.

•    Chapter XIV explores the capacity for transformative learning inherent in experientially-based education, specifically within service-learning contexts, and the methods by which such experiences can be facilitated in web-based academic settings.  There is an inherent complexity and importance to achieving life transformations by intellectual means. Such educational journeys take place in many different forms in applied instructional settings in which learning is experientially based; such processes take on particularly unique qualities when facilitated in virtual environments. When utilized creatively technologies have the capability to enhance educational experiences beyond individual learning, extending the construction of knowledge within an outreach framework to, for example, and participants’ local and regional communities.

•    Chapter XV investigates these dangers by providing a cautionary counterpoint to the transformative and liberatory possibilities technologies offer. Examples of the forms this abuse takes leads off the chapter, followed by some of the psychological and sociological theories that have been put forward to assist us in understanding and possibly addressing this abuse of human-computer interactions.

•    Chapter XVI examines the concept of injustice with special reference to its occurrence online. It also focuses on poverty as economic deprivation and fear together with injustice as essential components of vicious circle which may seriously impact transformative education, noting that transformative education is basically focused at imbibing values and skills that will develop the individual’s worldviews and encourage them to act individually or collectively so that they can improve social conditions and eventually eradicate the ills of society.

•    Chapter XVII describes the development of cyber-ethnography as a research tool, identifies its use as a research method and provides summary to a research project that examines interaction between lecturers and learners engaged on a Masters degree in Education delivered on-line.  Drawing on the benefits provided by cyber-ethnography as a research tool, new perspectives on the student learning experience are identified and explored. The research provides insight into the experience of staff and students alike.   The course specific research findings are discussed and the process of researching in virtual space is evaluated. The findings identify advantages to the learner when asynchronous communication provides time for reflection and considered response.

•    Chapter XVIII defines this online distance education approach, outlines an “hhh” framework, and showcases an “hhh” archetype. In “hhh” environments, classroom teachers are not positioned in the role of teacher/facilitator/designer in the online learning spaces. The “hhh” online spaces are collaborative spaces where students, teachers, subject experts, and “hhh” team members interact with one another; these are community spaces where traditional hierarchical classroom roles are blurred. Students’ roles transform due to the flexibility and design of the “hhh” learning environments as they move from student to reflective practitioner, providing for new ways of learning and teaching.

•    Chapter XIX uses appreciative inquiry and development design methodologies to examine whether embedded semiotics and carefully designed metaphors could help students in the online courses feel more comfortable and increase the likelihood of their course completion. The findings of the study support the use of icons, metaphors and other forms of semiotics to transfer and mediate prior knowledge with new content knowledge, particularly in elearning.

•    Chapter XX explains the process of knowledge structure and how cognitive load to be influenced on this process by theoretical way in the process of education learn and in the rank of winning the student’s knowledge. Cognitive load is defined such that it is in the working memory border, it has got inner, outside and effective load element, it is taken to control by different education project and when a mission propose, a structure come into being.

•    Chapter XXI discusses the use of educational role play in the online immersive virtual environment (IVE) as a means of social and personal transformation aimed toward positive outcomes in social and cultural sensitivity online and in the real world. Characteristics of the IVE online, its parallels to real life, educational typologies, and norms are discussed as well as its flexible attributes for specific use in the role play context. Strategies for creating and facilitating a role play and examples of role play activities adapted for the IVE are also described.

•    Chapter XXII explores how they construct and reproduce cyberspace as a social and political realm. Specifically, drawing on Habermas’ theory of ideal speech situation (1988) and Bakhtin’s notion of heteroglossia (1973, 1984), the analysis deconstructs how race, class, and gender are performed in cyberspace and how corresponding inequalities are created and upheld in this space. It also explores the ways in which online education might help individuals to actively disrupt social, racial, and gender inequalities in both their online and offline communities.

•    Chapter XXIII introduces and discusses one ancient and proven methodology made new with technology that can help to close the technological gap between teachers, and students—Digital Storytelling. In this paper the definition of what a story is and what a digital story is given. Included in this paper is a discussion on the theoretical framework for the story with examples. Also, in this paper is a brief overview of recommended future research in the area of Digital Storytelling.  

•    Chapter XXIV discusses that participants with diverse backgrounds, various expectations and different teaching/learning styles either individually or within communities are attracted by the benefits of online learning presented by the ‘any time and any place’ motto. Although this motto is perceived as a factor for freedom, diversity of learners, institutions and instructors, together with the differences in affordance of technology may set limitations which need to be resolved. An ecological perspective introducing analogies between online learning and organic agriculture may help maintaining an online learning ecosystem where all participants cherish the feeling of freedom and regardless of their diverse backgrounds or competencies, perceive that their needs are understood and responded equally.

•    Chapter XXV discusses that the ethics backbone for information and communications technologies (ICT) guides the evolution of the socio-technical spaces and technologies on the WWW and Internet. This backbone directs the ways people harness information for education and social betterment; how they create virtual communities, and what digital contents they share. There are numerous stakeholders to transformative e-learning throughout the world, both now and in the future.  

•    Chapter XXVI examines the phenomenon of poverty and phobia regarding Internet connectivity and usage among university students in south-western Nigeria. Using the descriptive survey research method, a five-point likert-type structured questionnaire was administered on 362 randomly selected students from 7 universities in south-western Nigeria. Findings indicated that respondents have a high confidence level of 78% for Internet usage, with the major challenge being the cost and low quality Internet connectivity, notwithstanding the urban locations of the institutions. Internet access by students is generally low due to high costs of Internet connectivity, access, sporadic and unstable electricity. There is general absence of financial aid mechanisms and this makes it difficult for students to procure reliable Internet access, even though they have high confidence level to utilize it.    

Considering transformative models with online education for liberation is one of the unique characteristic of the proposed book. The chapters only explore and discuss transformative models about how to bring the progressive approaches of digital society in a liberating manner to become more democratic and less oppressive. Besides, these chapters provide digital citizens with the crucial strategies and principles to generate multicultural frameworks and approaches, and also authentic examples and experiences for probing social justice activism. The editors hope that these provocative and activist dialogues discover the diverse resources, multicultural experiences, and egalitarian opportunities to open digital minds and broaden their perspectives. Furthermore, discussing the main features of online education for liberation brings a very powerful paradigm shift to establish public interests encompassing the reflections of every aspect of transformative models with the enthusiasms, ideologies and persuasions as well as opinions. Therefore, this book provides online people with discovering their own power, voices and leaderships. On the foundation of these open and flexible structures of online education for liberation, transformative models can serve breathtaking concepts and approaches in collaborative interactions and mutual understandings for a caring world view. This book, therefore, gather professionals from across disciplines, from all levels of education and from multicultural communities to build lifelong learning processes which encourage good practices for the entire global online society.

This publication can be used for both facilitators/tutors and learners. As it covers online education for liberation and transformative models, the chapters answer their questions in this context. Therefore, this publication is a course supplement book in distance education, online education, education for liberation, transformative online learning and transformative learning.  In addition, it is a unique resource for the researchers, scholars and distance education professionals and lifelong learners. This book is a reference book, and also a welcome addition to academic libraries' collections in online education, distance education, liberation and transformative online learning areas. The prospective readers find a boarder concept than formal conventional online education, and also a marvelously rich array of ideas about online education for liberation although there are books on transformative learning. Besides, the proposed transformative models bring a new ground and critical conversations about the frameworks, approaches and/or cases of changing, altering and transforming the online-life practices, attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions of digital people. This book, therefore, brings together educators, activists to participate in a free discussion about online education for liberation, which is a timely and important topic. These are the most potential benefits to enhance available literature.

In short, although interests and concerns in the concept of online education for liberation radically continue to increase, there has been little academic inquiry into its importance. The existing literature is mainly based on small samples or models as well as is often anecdotal and rarely proposes a well-built foundation for ordinary presumption. The attempt of the book is to explain this approach with caring online education for liberation and transformative models, which distinguish this book from the existing literature. This book is one of the pioneers which combine online education, liberation and transformative models together.