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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Challenges and Dilemmas in Online Teaching and Learning with Postgraduate Students

Jan Gray, Maria Northcote.

The learning design for the postgraduate introductory research methods unit is based on a constructivist pedagogy that encourages experiential learning. An authentic setting provides opportunities for a task-based approach to help students learn the processes and principles of research methods. The learning design and related pedagogy scaffold opportunities for students to learn collaboratively in an online environment and especially facilitates complex concept development, reflective practice, practical application of theoretical principles and critical awareness of topical research issues.

As teachers of the unit, the authors of this paper draw on unit data such as student interaction on bulletin boards, verbal reports and email messages to illustrate critical incidents which have shaped the learning experiences of this group of students. Key factors influencing students’ conceptual development of research methodology in an online setting include learning how to negotiate group interaction, make the learning public through ICT discussion tools, and ground the theoretical understanding of research methodology in practical experiences by handling virtual and authentic data.


Jan Gray  (Australia)
School of Education
Edith Cowan University of Western Australia

Jan Gray is a lecturer in education at Edith Cowan University. Her research interests include pedagogies and processes for developing virtual learning communities for postgraduate students.

Maria Northcote  (Australia)

Edith Cowan University of Western Australia
School of Education

  • Online pedagogy
  • Postgraduate online learning
  • Teaching research methods

(30 min Conference Paper, English)