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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


A Constructivist Model for Supporting Understanding of Diversity Issues through Online Learning

Dr. Polly&Arlene Ashelman&Martin.

This presentation describes research that explored the role of online learning in teacher education. It documents the effectiveness of online discussions in promoting an understanding of diversity issues. It demonstrates that in an online discussion context, students may be more inclined to engage in extended, indepth, reflective and even confrontational interchange than their counterparts in traditional face-to-face settings. It also shows that students become co-facilitators of the learning process as they exchange divergent points of view. In this manner, online discussions support the constructivist approach to teaching and provide a mentoring context that supports collaboration.
In recognition of the promise and problems related to creating appropriate online learning opportunities, the presenters have organized a national research network among their colleagues to foster discussion of ideas and strategies, and they have initiated dialogue on this topic with educators in international settings.


Dr. Polly&Arlene Ashelman&Martin  (United States)
Associate Professors
Early Childhood and Family Studies Department
Kean University

Dr. Polly Ashelman and Dr. Arlene Martin are Associate Professors in the Early Childhood and Family Studies Department at Kean Univeristy. They have 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.

  • Online learning
  • Constructivist practice
  • Diversity issues
  • Mentoring

(30 min Conference Paper, English)