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Online learning for social justice and inclusion: The role of technological tools in graduate student learning

Ricardo Montelongo (Department of Educational Leadership, College of Education, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas, USA)
Paul William Eaton (Department of Educational Leadership, College of Education, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas, USA)

International Journal of Information and Learning Technology

ISSN: 2056-4880

Article publication date: 30 December 2019

Issue publication date: 2 March 2020

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783

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the online pedagogical practices and technological tools that influenced the attainment of skills and knowledge associated with professional multicultural competence in a graduate student online course focused on social justice and inclusion.

Design/methodology/approach

This qualitative case study includes a total of ten student participants. Two theoretical orientations guide the study. Mishra and Koehler’s (2006) model of technological pedagogical content knowledge is provided to understand the reciprocal relationship between content, pedagogy, knowledge and technology in online learning environments. Critical digital pedagogy (Morris and Stommel, 2018) provides insights into challenging the neutrality of technological tools and focuses on relational capacities of online learning environments. Initial coding by each researcher was reduced to thematic codes focused on technological tools, course content delivery, asynchronous and synchronous pedagogical strategies.

Findings

Data analysis revealed technological tools such as discussion boards, video, video conferencing and synchronous opportunities influence student engagement and learning. Further, findings reveal that the nature of online education itself – specifically asynchronocity – functions as both a distraction and possibility for online learning in multicultural education courses. Students in this study revealed the value of opportunities to engage synchronously in online learning environments. Instruction without such opportunities was disadvantageous to the learning of skills and knowledge associated with multicultural competence.

Research limitations/implications

The study is not generalizable to the experiences of all online students and only provides a small cross-section of online graduate students enrolled in a required diversity course at one institution.

Originality/value

There is a dearth of research focused on teaching courses in diversity, equity, social justice and inclusion in fully online environments, a gap this study begins to fill. The study also enhances the authors’ understanding of graduate student education.

Keywords

Citation

Montelongo, R. and Eaton, P.W. (2020), "Online learning for social justice and inclusion: The role of technological tools in graduate student learning", International Journal of Information and Learning Technology, Vol. 37 No. 1-2, pp. 33-45. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJILT-11-2018-0135

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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