Technology and Culturally Competent Strategies for the Online Classroom

Technology and Culturally Competent Strategies for the Online Classroom

Justina Elise Kwapy (Grand Canyon University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9814-5.ch012
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The last decade has brought an increase in online courses in the educational setting. One-quarter of American college students are in an online degree program, and 32% have taken at least one online course. While students, higher universities, and faculty are enjoying the convenience and flexibility of online learning environments, there is an increasing concern over the support in distance education, teaching methods, and a social disconnectedness of students from the course. This chapter explores how technology can support a successful online learning experience and impede the dissatisfaction and higher dropout rates among students in distance learning programs. Higher institution's online faculty are now faced with the task of creating a virtual community of learners, meeting both the academic and social needs of students.
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Social Presence

Research demonstrates that a social presence is essential in promoting student success in the online classroom (Swan & Shih, 2005). Swan & Shih suggest that social presence exists through the sharing of learners’ experiences, collaboration and meaningful connections that result in an increased and effective learning experience. Social presence emerges when instructors support students in engaging in genuine dialogue that supports.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Audio Recordings (Podcasts): Podcasting includes the use of streaming video and web players, and/or the downloading of media using syndication. The information is always portable and available for students to access.

Community: In order for students to have an increases satisfaction with their course and a feeling of connection to their instructor and other learners, students must have a perceived sense of community. Community encompasses the components of values, trust, and mutual support.

Video Recordings: Video recordings in an online classroom is to allow students the opportunity to follow along interactively. Instructors and students can use web cameras or video recording software that can be downloaded and run from a computer.

Video-Enhanced Chat: Video-enhanced chats can be accomplished using synchronous presentation tools like Adobe Connect, Elluminate, Wimba and Skype. These methods are effective for small groups and for collaboration on group projects. The intent of the integration is to build a sense of community for online students and help to diminish the feeling of isolation or solitude.

Multimedia: Audiovisual technology that has the possibility to appeal to multiple senses and transform the learner’s experience from solitary to collaborative.

Online Group Learning: Students in an online classroom are placed in small groups to complete assignments. The use of multimedia tools is essential for group learning to be successful and meaningful.

Isolation: Reducing the feeling of being alone in the online learning environment. It can be measured by the student’s connectedness to the instructor and other learners in the online classroom.

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