From a Distance: Student Empowerment and Constructing Teacher Identities Online


Ayshe TALAY-ONGAN


ABSTRACT
Online learning has infiltrated tertiary learning and teaching applications and offers enrichment in the construction of student learning through opportunities unfathomable for most university teachers when they were students. While all students benefit from online learning components that are supplemental to more traditional modes of teaching, it is the distance education students who are the most significant beneficiaries of these applications. This paper presents a framework developed towards ongoing dynamic evaluations of undergraduate units that are fully online on the WebCT platform in one of Australia's leading early childhood teacher education programs. It also describes a journey in which online learning and teaching experiences harnessed technology to better suit pedagogically-driven innovations and initiatives through unit content, instructional design and the emotionally supportive and empowering 'community spirit' created through online communications for distance education students. These experiences helped shape a platform of social discourse in constructing complex professional identities of pre-service early childhood teachers, and one of their teachers.


KEYWORDS: Online Learning, Early Childhood Teacher Education, Online Pedagogy.

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