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This qualitative study examines the voices and learning experiences of students in online synchronous graduate courses by examining the role that student voice plays in developing authentic online communities. Transformational digital learning regards student voices as central to the process of learning in community, not extraneous to it. Effective online courses must be designed to allow constructivist opportunities for students to contextualize and integrate knowledge as well. With the wide variety and increasing landscape of new and innovative digital means of expressing concepts, placing students at the centre of the process is a digital affordance that holds the potential to engage students more fully. The authors detail an analysis of students’ digital artifacts created during two 12-week graduate courses entitled “Critical and Reflective Practice in Education”. Each course was delivered through synchronous weekly Adobe Connect sessions. These artifacts or “Digital Moments” are used as evidence of the quality of the students’ learning experiences, and a cognitive map of their challenges and successes. Students express powerful voices about their individual experiences. This paper articulates the process of developing a critically reflective online learning space, and examines how teachers can successfully chronicle students’ voices and experiences through their digitally created artifacts.
Barber, W., & Robertson, L. (2016, November 2-6). Developing Critical Reflective Online Communities by Empowering Student Voice. Paper presented at the Higher Education in Transition Symposium, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada.