Online Learning - Levelling the playing field to achieve Sustainabel Development Goals 4 and 5

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Title: Online Learning - Levelling the playing field to achieve Sustainabel Development Goals 4 and 5
Authors: Buggy, Conor J.
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Date: 29-Apr-2017
Abstract: Invited Keynote Address Striving to be responsive to ever changing societal demands, new information, classroom dynamics and to students┬┐ expectations and learning issues is a common difficulty facing teachers globally. The time honoured methods of teaching are being tested by growing class sizes, diminished budgets, timetables and teaching days extended to accommodate students travelling to avail of good teaching. Intermingled with this is the aim to ensure gender equality within education in order to provide all young men and women with equal opportunities. Online teaching can be integral to managing these issues and advance the achievement of both the sustainable development goal for quality education (SDG4) for all as well as gender equality (SDG5). Teaching is not merely about lecturing to students and providing them with information to soak up like a sponge; it is about introducing fundamental theories, ideas, and empirical evidence to students in a way that they can integrate this information into their own life and professional experience. To many teachers using online learning pedagogies to achieve this can appear daunting. Student learning environments can either enhance or hinder so ensuring a safe and stimulating learning space can encourage active participation. Online learning environments must also aim for active participation otherwise students disengage and the opportunity from online learning is lost. Communication and active participation by the teacher is essential to maximise the benefits of online teaching. In order to encourage critical thinking in online students, utilising online discussion fora that have the purpose of creating a space and time for informal, open-ended thinking to occur facilitates this. The asynchronous components of online learning does not inherently prompt students toward enhanced critical thinking, but it can serve as a vehicle for the encouragement of increased engagement and critical thinking. Critical thinking requires a consistent emphasis placed on the discussion fora through the posing of questions and ideas to provide purposeful engagement amongst the students. This means that the teacher must be present in the fora to stimulate discussion, but cannot control it. Online teaching can also be 'blind' to gender and age which allows for all students to achieve their learning outcomes without unconscious bias or even prejudice from their fellow students or their teachers. Anonymised online interaction and assessment strategies can allow all students to flourish and learn at their own pace while the teacher has no preconceived notion of the student. This is critical for ensuring equity and removal of bias from assessment strategies.
Type of material: Conference Publication
Keywords: Online teaching
Language: en
Status of Item: Not peer reviewed
Conference Details: 1st International Conference on Gender Issues in Higher Learning Institutions, Dar Es Salaam University College of Education, Tanzania, April, 2017
Appears in Collections:Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science Research Collection

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