Blog 4 – Digital Pedagogy

[Written by our entire group, listed in no particular order, Alexandria Rossi Alvarez, Daniel Linares, Jenny Kirsch, Tanya Mitropoulos, and Emma Baumgardner]

If not all educators are called to be pedagogues, then how do we hold (or expect to hold) educator’s accountable for sound pedagogical practices in a global environment where everyone is barely treading water? On the flip side of this coin (as if it’s really a coin), is the question of where the collaboration exists between campus pedagogues and educators? For all their filibustering about what digital pedagogy is not, I would argue Stommel and Morris don’t do a solid job of saying what digital pedagogy is – aside from this ethereal manifestation of co-constructed knowledge heralded by Eris than an organization – or how collaboration can exist to begin filling in the scisms that exist between those that know, those that do and those that know and do. In the current era, and times to come, there will not be the option for online learning, so how about we begin educating educators on sound, digital, pedagogical approaches so both learners and educators get the most out of the platforms they are (for better or worse) existing upon?

Students in the classroom have different strengths and weaknesses, the use of digital tools can be a way to address those differences. It is within the professor’s responsibility to identify these differences among the learners and address and understand where students might be troubled. This is when digital pedagogies come in hand as they can be used to simplify and balance student’s abilities and focus on getting the feedback needed to improve the learning process.

One of the things our group chatted about was the need for an Incorporation of more studies related to people’s attention capacities online. Because we have all been forced into this online learning environment, more research ought to be done to look into the best easy to disseminate information to students and how they are retaining it. We’ve heard pieces of information here and there about how long videos should be, things to incorporate in a narrated presentation to increase engagement from the students, and how to make online learning interactive. However, it would be both interesting and helpful to have data to support the comments in one location that all educators could pull from to aid in their online pedagogy.

Online instruction specialists would be a useful new field to develop too. Since research and practice are, at least preliminarily, indicating that learning happens in a different manner when done fully online, new tools and methods are needed to optimize teaching in this context. However, as many teachers are discovering with the forced rapid conversion to online education, incorporating these tools into lessons takes time – enough to merit a full-time job. Schools with prior experience educating online are finding themselves at an advantage, being able to use the knowledge of1 employees already experienced in this context. If more schools invest in such professionals, then they too can get ahead in online education.

In the realm of digital pedagogy, efforts need to be made to encourage the accommodation of traditional and nontraditional students. One benefit of online teaching and MOOCs is the ability of the program to be able to conform to a person’s life. Creating an engaging classroom through the usage of online tools is paramount, and ensuring these programs have a positive user experience is another hurdle. Creating platforms that provide users with an easy, intuitive, and positive experience of interaction can improve the learning experience for students.

3 Replies to “Blog 4 – Digital Pedagogy”

  1. I think Virginia Tech’s TLOS department provides workshop’s on how to use digital pedagogy to shape course design. However, I agree that having a website dedicated to evidence-based practices would help. I tried to search for a website using the search terms, “digital pedagogy evidence based practice,” but I only found scholarly articles and documents. Due to the pandemic, I know curriculum and instruction journals continue to request articles related to this topic. Thus, I believe a website compiling digital, evidence-based practices will emerge soon.

  2. Really interesting points. I think it is important to acknowledge, as you did, that digital tools can be used to bridge the gap between students who listen, learn, and process information in different ways. My high school was very technology-forward, and by my senior year, I used my laptop to take notes in all but my math and science classes. I was surprised when I came to college that laptops were banned in some classrooms and thought that was kind of a silly rule. That said, as an engineering student, I pretty much never used a laptop in class again. It made more sense to take notes on engineering paper. I think just like certain material is presented more effectively in certain ways, student engagement in the classroom should vary from class to class and student to student. It’s a tricky balance.

  3. I agree that the answer to the question of what digital pedagogy is seems very ethereal. Does every class have to have new and different organization to keep students engaged? Is it enough to just have a method of teaching that works well and engages with the topics of the course in a relevant way? What is pedagogy supposed to accomplish? How much of transformational learning is the responsibility of students, and how much is it the responsibility of teachers? I also think that it is important to point out that what students get out of the class is related to their choices and motivation, even if the teacher has more power over the class structure. This makes me wonder, if a teacher strives to provide online resources with information that is “easy to disseminate,” or easy to pay attention to, such as shorter videos, do students learn less? Do they learn more? I think that many instructors think that they are supposed to be passing on specific content, and maybe with a creative approach we can move past such a narrow focus on content delivery. But if our goals are more creative, and every student’s engagement with the course is so different, how do teachers measure whether the approaches are successful? Also, if students are working in modalities or formats or with expectations that are comfortable to them, are they missing some of the challenges whose negotiation is perhaps the point of education?

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