Using Online Tools to Model Disciplinary Thinking

Date & Time

Aug 6th at 12:45 PM until 1:30 PM


Research To Practice 


Rating ( votes)

I argue that the choice to use specific course tools in online learning can and should be driven by how they enable students to practice disciplinary ways of thinking. Moreover, because the online course creates a record of this process in ways that face-to-face interactions do not, online teaching has the potential to teach disciplinary ways of thinking in uniquely (and perhaps even more) effective ways. This argument draws on scholars of teaching and learning that encourage shifting from “coverage” models of introductory courses across the disciplines to teaching that would introduce students more explicitly to the discipline, its values, and ways of processing information. Merging this approach with the Community of Inquiry model for online learning, I aim to explain how online communities can function in disciplinary-specific ways; in other words, both the medium and the discipline shape the interactions of the community of learners. My understanding is also based on a study of multiple sections of an Introduction to Literature course. The course teaches students the process of considering multiple interpretations of a literary text through a series of discussion-based assignments. Through these assignments, students identify one another as a community of literary scholars whose practices parallel what they see in published literary scholarship at the end of the semester. The study compares students' responses to questions about their participation in class discussions with the results of a content analysis of their final essays to present evidence of student learning. Taking this approach can lead to innovative course design. I will provide participants with examples of assignments and student responses to assignments from the Introduction to Literature course. Participants will then be led through an exercise in identifying disciplinary ways of thinking. This exercise will include versions of handouts to meet the needs of higher education instructors, instructional designers, administrators, and other possible participants. Following the exercise in identifying disciplinary ways of thinking, I will present examples of tools used to model disciplinary thinking in various disciplines and the group will discuss additional possible uses of technologies. VIEW THIS SESSION [Mediasite player]