Best Pedagogical Practices for Acknowledging and Accommodating Diversity in Online Courses

Best Pedagogical Practices for Acknowledging and Accommodating Diversity in Online Courses

Christina Nash (University at Albany, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6383-1.ch017
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Abstract

This chapter examines the best practices for acknowledging and accommodating diversity in online courses, focused at the K-12 level. It presents the challenges of a culturally biased Internet and offers possibilities for educators to address this bias, not only for themselves as pedagogical and instructional designers but also for their students in both online and blended learning environments. While understanding cultural learning biases is important in any online education setting, teachers at the K-12 level need to be especially vigilant as they are working with students who are still developing their own identities as both people and learners. Strategies recommended include, but are not limited to, being aware of cultural differences through both information gathering and experience; providing opportunities for communication that honor student learning preferences; providing explicit course guidelines, expectations, and extended descriptions of course assignments; addressing the implementation of collaborative work with students of diverse backgrounds; and promoting student's cultural awareness through content and instruction.
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Background

Educational research in online learning has predominantly focused on two particular groups, students in higher education and pre-service teachers (Koyama, Plash, & Davis, 2012). While some limited research has investigated the effectiveness of online versus face-to-face learning at the elementary and secondary levels, little of this research has addressed the needs of diverse learners in asynchronous environments (Cavanaugh, Barbour, & Clark, 2009).

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