Evaluating online teaching from a social constructivist perspective
Taylor, P. and Maor, D. (1999) Evaluating online teaching from a social constructivist perspective. In: 14th Annual Research Forum of the Western Australian Institute for Educational Research (WAIER), 27 - 28 August 1999, University of Notre Dame, Fremantle, W.A.
Teachers of science and mathematics Australia wide are being required to transform their established epistemologies of practice in order to engage learners as active conceptualisers within socially interactive learning environments. Many teachers are enrolling in higher degree distance education programs to assist them with this challenging task. Universities are responding by using computer mediated communication to speed up the exchange of study materials and to provide online interactive learning environments (via chat groups, bulletin boards and email).
For the past 3 years, we have been using the Internet to teach online postgraduate students studying at a distance from Curtin. A major pedagogical goal is to engage our students (professional teachers) in reflective and collaborative learning. Our separate web sites provide Discussion/Activity Rooms in which we engage students in frequent and focused discourse with each other and with their online tutors. As reflective teachers, we are keen to evaluate our own innovative practices and constantly improve them. To this end, we have designed the Constructivist Online Learning Environment Survey (COLLES), an electronic questionnaire that enables us to readily monitor each student's preferred online learning environments and compare them with her/his actual experiences. In this presentation, we outline the rationale of the questionnaire and present some recent analyses that illustrate its usefulness.
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