Culture Matters in Creating Inclusive Online Learning Engagement

Concurrent Session 4
Leadership IDEA - Inclusion Diversity Equity Advocacy

Session Materials

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Brief Abstract

An instructor's understanding of a student's cultural background is important to online learning especially as it realtes to community building, global citizenry and inclusion. Faculty, designers and administrators must consider "culturally intelligent design" when designing and teaching classes in today's online environment. 

Presenters

Darryl has been involved in Leadership Development and Higher Education since 2002. More recently, Darryl has become a Post-Graduate Research Fellow at NWU and a Curriculum developer and Board Member at the University of Denver's Global Affairs Masters program. He serves on several international consultancy groups specializing in pedagogy and educational design/strategic development for Higher Education. Originally from South Africa, Darryl has been invited to work with University groups to develop these competencies in South Africa, Swaziland, Togo, India, USA and The Philippines. Darryl is a licensed facilitator in Cultural Intelligence (CQ) (Nov, 2013) and a World Rugby certified referee. Darryl holds a BA and a post-grad Honors degree from NWU, two Masters degrees and a Ph.D. from NWU with a specific focus on Online Education. He has also completed a Certificate in Instructional Design from the Online Learning Consortium in December 2017. Darryl, his wife and their three daughters currently reside in Cape Town, South Africa.

Extended Abstract

An instructor's understanding of a student's cultural background is important to online learning (Cercone, 2008; Lim, 2004; Rogers et al., 2007). Therefore the educator and designer of tomorrow must be cognizent of and plan for cultural varience especially as it realtes to community building, global citizenry and inclusion. Faculty, designers and administrators must consider "culturally intelligent design" when designing and teaching classes in today's online environment. As discussed by Gorodnichenko & Roland, 2011, p. 2). "individualist culture [...] awards social status to personal accomplishments such as important discoveries, innovations, great artistic or humanitarian achievements and all actions that make an individual stand out. Collectivism, in contrast, emphasizes individuals in a larger group. It encourages conformity and discourages individuals from dissenting and standing out". How might this insight play out in the modern day global classroom? Chen and Bennett (2012: 684) have likewise asserted that "instructors from Confucius culture tend to cater to the class as a group so that they can cover all the content they deem as the most important to the entire learning group. As noted by one student participant of their study that students learned “not to disturb the class [by asking too many questions], [because] even if their questions are brilliant, the teacher still might not answer them because he/she wants to teach something else first”  This presenter has first hand knowledge and expereince in teaching on four continants and contexts as varied as South Africa, India and the Philippines. It is with the insights gathered from these expereinces as well as years working as an online educator and Instructional designer that suggestions will be made, in this very practical session, of how one can become more culturally competant in the virtual classroom.