Fostering Difficult Dialogues in Digital Learning

  • 2018-06-18
  • EdSurge

It’s a difficult time for many faculty members across the country to talk about current events with students. But how should instructors foster rich, inclusive dialogues with diverse students—and do so online where everyone might be anonymous?

Digital learning advocates have long hoped that online education could provide students of different and often underrepresented backgrounds new opportunities and access points to higher education. But the panel on Thursday started off by saying even delivering online education in more flexible ways isn't enough.

Panelist Melody Buckner, director of digital and online education at the University of Arizona, said that she no longer asks students to post to online forums. Instead, she requires that students use cameras for discussions. “They can’t spout behind text,” she said.

Each of the panelists agreed that in addition to these considerations, courses—whether covering controversial topics or not—should begin with a set of ground rules and norms.