Do the Philosophical Foundations of Online Learning Disadvantage Non-Western Students?

Do the Philosophical Foundations of Online Learning Disadvantage Non-Western Students?

David Catterick (University of Dundee, Scotland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-935-9.ch248
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Abstract

A product of its historical origins, online learning is firmly rooted in the educational values that dominate post-secondary education in Britain, Australasia, and North America. With the increasing numbers of international students studying degree programs online, this chapter asks whether students from diverse educational cultures are disadvantaged in their learning by the teaching approaches implemented within online teaching environments. Active learning, reflective practice, and collaborative learning are all based on a cognitive, constructivist tradition (Fox, 2001), one which is evidently not shared by much of the rest of the world (Kim & Bonk, 2002; Wright & Lander, 2003). Employing evidence from the field of cross-cultural psychology (Allik & McCrae, 2004) and taking Chinese students as an example (Cheung, Leung, Zhang, Sun, Gan, Song, & Xie, 2001; Lin, 2004; Matthews, 2001), the author suggests that there may be some cause for concern within online instructional practices. The chapter concludes with three possible responses to the issue, two of which might go some way towards ensuring that international students find themselves on a more even playing field in their online degree program of study.

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