Reversing the Tyranny of Distance Education: Using Research About Threshold Concepts in Online Teaching to Humanize Online Course Design

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Book Chapter

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This book chapter was originally published as:

Northcote, M., Gosselin, K. P., Reynaud, D., Kilgour, P., Anderson, M., & Boddey, C. (2017). Reversing the tyranny of distance education: Using research about threshold concepts in online teaching to humanize online course design. In M. Northcote & K. P. Gosselin (Eds.), Handbook of research on humanizing the distance learning experience (pp. 232-255). Hershey, PA: IGI Global

ISBN: 9781522509684


130103 Higher Education| 130306 Educational Technology and Computing| 130313 Teacher Education and Professional Development of Educators

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In today’s higher education environment, online education has become a rich and nuanced medium characterized by a dynamic and progressive use of technology. These technological advancements require research-informed guidelines and practices to facilitate understanding of how they can be used to foster positive outcomes in distance education contexts. By employing a mixed-methods multiphase design case study at Avondale College of Higher Education, the authors examine the challenges, self-confidence and threshold concepts, or transformative, conceptual understandings that academic faculty staff experience while engaging in distance education course design. The authors examine how these threshold concepts, attitudes and skills can be used to inform the design of professional development programs for academic staff who teach in online contexts. The results and associated recommendations of the six-year investigation are presented to inform professional development programs that aim to improve the quality of online teaching, course design and learning experiences of students.


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Handbook of research on humanizing the distance learning experience may be accessed from the publisher here.

Staff and Students of Avondale College may access Handbook of research on humanizing the distance learning experience from Avondale College Library (374.4 N81).