Active Teaching Phases: Foundational Pedagogies

Active Teaching Phases: Foundational Pedagogies

Barbara A. Frey (D. Ed. University of Pittsburgh, USA), Richard G. Fuller (Robert Morris University, USA) and Gary William Kuhne (Penn State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-865-4.ch010
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Pedagogies In Foundational Courses

In designing and teaching foundational courses, courses targeted to provide a solid learning foundation of the core information and concepts of a particular discipline, online learners must be engaged learners and not just passive recipients of foundational concepts. The online instructor must utilize the best methods to assure that the learners in the online course are active learners. Active learning, be it in the form of constructivism, progressive education, or behaviorism, can involve the multiplicity of interactive distance learning suggested to provide the opportunity for the student to interact with the teacher as soon as he/she finds the need for this interaction (Notar, et al., 2002). Students generally don’t learn through just the posting of PowerPoint presentations or volumes of text to read or through just writing papers or answering text base questions from the readings. Participants learn through active involvement with the material. There are many opportunities to engage learners in the course and training materials beyond the posting of text to read.

To create a more active and engaged online learning environment is the key to online student success. Klemm (1998) described eight ways to enhance student engagement:

  • 1.

    Require participation – consistency in participation will keep students on track in the course content

  • 2.

    Form learning teams – cooperation and interaction among students will encourage further engagement and teamwork, often inflicting a feeling of responsibility to others

  • 3.

    Make activity interesting – most importantly, keep activities active and appealing to multiple learning styles; reading is likely not the best way that all students learn.

  • 4.

    Don’t settle for opinions – opinions are okay to include, but do not let students rely on their opinion for discussion responses; research and reading must be incorporated

  • 5.

    Structure the activity – provide a clear timeline and definition of requirements and expectations

  • 6.

    Require a deliverable – require a deliverable to give the students a ‘goal’ of such and the chance to receive specific feedback on their end product

  • 7.

    Know what you are aiming for – and make sure the students know what you are aiming for; not simply participation but the ability to learn, apply, receive feedback and improve

  • 8.

    Use peer grading – this may not always be appropriate but can help the students share ideas and perhaps inflict a competitive motivation

In the weekly lessons there are many pedagogical opportunities. However, these opportunities that the instructor builds into a course shell is not automated learning where the instructor posts things to do and walks away. The instructor needs to be ever present in the course and an integral part of the learning process. The instructor must model what they want the learner to do. This is of high importance in the online learning environment. Instructors need to model even in the online learning environment as our students are always watching what we do and emulating our behavior. If you want them meeting target deadlines for assignments and activities, you must also demonstrate prudence in grading and returning items in a timely fashion. If the instructor wants student online participation and student presence in a course, then the instructor must also practice presence.

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