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Co-constructing new understandings of online learning environments through critical reflection

Herrmann, A., Fox, B., Taylor, P., Geelan, D., Dawson, V., Stapleton, A. and Parker, L. (1999) Co-constructing new understandings of online learning environments through critical reflection. In: Teaching and Learning Forum 1999: Teaching in the Disciplines/Learning in Context, 3 - 4 February 1999, University of Western Australia, Nedlands, WA



A postgraduate unit offered by Curtin's Science and Mathematics Education Centre (SMEC), designed for the professional development of practising teachers, was developed in accordance with the referent of social constructivism. Two years ago, web-based modes of communication, including email and an online discussion room, were introduced to supplement existing 'paper and mail' distance education materials in order to facilitate richer student-tutor and student-student social interactions.

Those involved in this program have developed new understandings of working in and with online learning environments through critical reflection of their own work and their experiences. With reference to interview transcripts, notes from meetings, email correspondence, commentary in professional journals and other print-based and online documents, this presentation describes the development of an online learning environment mapping critical issues that mark new (co)constructed and at times competing levels of understanding, especially in the context of mutual inquiry, grounded in personal experiences of using online technology as an environment and as a context for teaching and learning.

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