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dc.contributor.authorBrown, Eric Kenyon
dc.description.abstractResearch in online learning has revealed considerable information about diversity related to attributes such as culture, language, and gender. However, the research base is lacking studies examining a broader range of diversity attributes (e.g.,, sexual orientation, religious beliefs), specifically how these attributes are identified and acknowledged by designers and instructors of online learning. In this study, online instructors were interviewed to explore their thoughts about the terms diversity and marginalization and how their perceptions of these concepts influence the design and implementation of their online courses. Findings revealed that some online instructors broadly define diversity and marginalization and make efforts to design courses beneficial to all students. This is done by establishing clear policies and strategies supporting open communication. These policies and strategies are documented within institutional communications and course syllabi. Additionally, participants constantly review course communications to ensure adherence to established policies and strategies. The study indicated that diversity and marginalization may not always be easily seen in online learning environments as detailed information about students is often not readily available. When demographic data relevant to diversity was absent, participants developed strategies to promote diversity and encourage active participation. For example, participants constructed generalized student identities based primarily on prior experience. These constructed identities serve as a lens for reviewing student work and interactions. A summary of suggested best practices is provided to help inform the work of online instructors.
dc.subjectage, culture, difference, disability, diversity, gender, online instruction, online learning, sexual identity, sexual orientation
dc.titleSafe spaces in online learning
dc.title.alternativethe role of faculty perceptions in design and practice
dc.description.departmentEducational Psychology and Instructional Technology
dc.description.majorInstructional Technology
dc.description.advisorThomas Reeves
dc.description.committeeThomas Reeves
dc.description.committeeRobert J. Hill
dc.description.committeeJanette Hill

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