Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

The Relationship of On-Line Learning to Student Perceptions of Cultural Diversity Issues: Uses of On-line Learning to Mediate Cultural Perceptions

Dr Arlene Martin, Dr. Polly Ashelman.

The researchers have been conducting research on diversity issues in both on-line and face-to-face courses. They have found that students in on-line settings are more open and develop more authentic dialogue than in traditional formats causing deeper conversations about attitudes, values and perceptions around diversity issues of culture and language.

In this study, the researchers continue to look at the transformative nature of the on-line experience to mediate student perceptions and beliefs that will inform their teaching practice. It has allowed them to examine the type and quality of the interchange in the on-line environment and strategize how to systematically support discussions that promote understanding of diverse issues.

This cross-cultural research explores the relationship of on-line learning between US pre-service and beginning students and Australian early childhood teacher education students. Three questions inform this study based on: 1) the qualitative differences found in on-line student performance and face-to-face courses; 2) the ways in which on-line learning support issues of diversity and; 3) the understandings that emerge from student discussions of their perceptions of cultural issues acrosses diverse populations.

The methodology used is qualitative in approach. The researchers ask probing questions to address underlying issues of diversity, monitor student responses in on-line class discussions, and analyze student profiles in on-line conversations. Emergent themes and categories are reviewed for trends. A culminating video-teleconferece concludes the research to encourage student interactions and exchange of transformative cultural perceptions.


Dr Arlene Martin  (United States)
Associate Professor
Department of Early Childhood & Family Studies College of Education
Kean University of New Jersey

Dr. Arlene Martin is an Associate Professor of Early Childhood and Family Studies at Kean University in New Jersey. She has over 25 years of professional experience in teaching in public school child care administration and in higher education. Her research interests include infancy research, literacy and adult mentoring. She is a national and international presenter on mentoring models. Her publications include Building Literacy Through Child Development, Mentoring in Early Childhood Settings and Perspectives on Early Childhood Practice: Handbook of Essential Readings in Early Chldhood.

Dr. Polly Ashelman  (United States)
Associate Professor
Early Childhood and Family Studies Department
Kean University

Dr. Polly Ashelman is an Associate Professor in the Early Childhood and Family Studies Department at Kean Univeristy. She has worked together to develop online mentoring for professional development, and they have conducted research on how online learning supports understanding of diversity. They have shared their research findings at three national conferences. and they have started a national researchnet for the Nationall Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators to examine the role of online learning in teacher education.

  • On-line Learning
  • Early Childhood Teachers' Perceptions
  • Transformational Learning

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)