Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants

Title

Multiple Worldviews and the World Wide Web: Can Online Environments Aid Transformative Pedagogy?

Department

Women and Gender Studies

College

Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies

Disciplines

Arts and Humanities

Abstract

Expansion of online modalities in higher education have resulted in widespread conversations and contentions about student learning, retention, pedagogy, epistemology, digital divides and the real role of universities. Scholars such as Meyers (2008) and Turpin (2007) tie the notion of bell hooks transformative pedagogy and teaching communities to online environment. My research adds to the conversation by further exploring the contested potential of online environments to create counterhegemonic courses that focus on critical thinking and social justice. Online discussions facilitate asking and answering of difficult questions arising from teaching topics that constitute lived experiences of students and faculty such as poverty and racism, privilege and sexual assault. Online environments also facilitate the telling of backstorieswhere topics such as third world povertyand gender violence can become continuous and contextualized, instead of dogmatic and detached. Courses taught in women and gender studies often fall short of painting the full picture or telling the whole story where histories of colonialism or corporate capitalism cannot become a part of the plot or the learning-scape due to shortage of time. Online environments embody the potential to create concept maps and use hypertext to make crucial backstories and current developments on controversial topics taught accessible to students, as well as create a semi-safe environment for conversations on such topics. Keeping in mind issues of access and privilege, identities and communities that underlie all pedagogical conversations, my research is a methodological exploration into the interface of critical feminist pedagogy with online teaching and learning.

Conference Name

the 6th Annual Conference on Higher Education Pedagogy

Conference Location

Blacksburg, Virginia

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