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The Pedagogy and Politics of Online Education in Anthropology by Linda J. Hose A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Department of Anthropology College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida Major Professor: El izabeth Bird, Ph.D. Nancy White, Ph.D. Karla Davis-Salazar, Ph.D. Maralee Mayberry, Ph.D. Ann Barron, Ph.D. Date of Approval: September 21, 2007 Keywords: distance education, online teach ing, educational technology, online learning, online course design Copyright 2007 Linda J. Hose
To my daughters: Kelley, Roxxy, and Chenoa. You fill my life with love and laughter.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS First, special mention must be made to the department chairs and online instructors who participated in my researc h. They were generous with their time and provided thoughtful answers to my ques tions. My doctoral committee members, Elizabeth Bird, Nancy White, Karla DavisSalazar, Ann Barron, and Maralee Mayberry, also deserve special thanks. In particular thanks to Elizabeth Bird for her patient guidance in both my doctoral work and the anthropology courses I teach online. Also, my thanks go to the staff of the Anthropology Department at the University of South Florida, and especially Debbie Roberson for the s upport she has provided for many years. Thanks to my sister, Carol, for shari ng her expertise on learning behaviors and psychology, and for the support she has provided th roughout my life. I also wish to thank my colleague and friend, Rebekah Heppner, fo r her constant support and encouragement, and for our lunches of sushi and plum wine. My gratitude also goes to my good friends, Smriti Vohra and Sheryl Stire for their advice, and for listening tirelessly. Finally, I am indebted to my daughters for their patience, s upport, and expertise. Thanks to Roxxy for countless hours of editing and for her calm presence in the most stressful times, to Kelley for her support and our conve rsations on technology and distance education theory, and to Chenoa for attending to the everyday problem s and always making sure I was well-fed.
Note to the Reader: The original of this document contains color that is necessary for understanding the data. The original dissertation is on file with the USF library in Tampa, Florida
i TABLE OF CONTENTS LIST OF TABLES iv LIST OF FIGURES v ABSTRACT vi CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION 1 Research Problem 3 Disparate Pedagogies 4 Structural Concerns 6 Research Goals and Questions 8 Dissertation Organization 9 CHAPTER TWO: TEACHING ANTHROPOLOGY 12 History 13 Problems and Issues 22 Major Teaching Approaches and Goals 25 Connecting Goals, Strategies, and Methods 27 Challenging Beliefs 27 Enhancing Cultural Awa reness and Appreciation 29 Conclusion 32 CHAPTER THREE: TE ACHING ONLINE 34 Distance and Online Education: History and Theory 35 Problems and Issues 41 Instructors, Students an d Online Interactions 43 Instructional Technology and Course Design 45 Conclusion 49 CHAPTER FOUR: TEACHING ANTHROPOLOGY ONLINE 51 Technology and Teaching Anthropology 52 Problems and Issues 54 Online Teaching Strategies and Course Design 56 Conclusion 58
ii CHAPTER FIVE: RESEARCH METHODS 60 Anthropology and Concepts in Virtual Methods 61 Research Design 62 Sample Selection 63 Protection of Research Subjects 64 Data Collection 66 Survey of Department Chairs 67 Interviews with Online Instructors 68 Data Analysis 69 Organization of Research Results 71 CHAPTER SIX: THE STATE OF ONLINE EDUCATION IN ANTHROPOLOGY 73 Current Online Offerings 74 Department Chair Survey 75 Online Instructor Interviews 76 Plans for Future Courses 76 Department Chair Survey 76 Online Instructor Interviews 79 Incentives and Accommodations 79 Department Chair Survey 79 Online Instructor Interviews 81 Barriers to Online Education 83 Department Chair Survey 83 Online Instructor Interviews 85 Conclusion 87 CHAPTER SEVEN: ANTHROPOLOGY TEACHERS AND THE WORK OF TEACHING ONLINE 89 Interview Participants 90 Motivations for Teaching Online 91 Online Teaching as Work 94 Online Courses as Products of Labor 98 Conclusion 101 CHAPTER EIGHT: ONLINE PED AGOGY AND COURSE DESIGN 103 Pedagogy and the Value of Online Education 104 Department Chair Survey 104 Online Instructor Interviews 106 Online Communication and the Roles of Teachers 108 Problems in Online Teaching 110 Imparting Anthropological Concepts 111 Structural Problems 113 Teaching Strategies and Methods 114 Anthropological Concepts 115 Structure and Organization 117
iii Online Course Design 119 Course Content 119 Course Tools 120 Conclusion 121 CHAPTER NINE: CONCLUSION 125 Recommendations 127 Having a Conversation about Online Education 129 Accounting for Institutional Stru ctures and Department Resources 137 Developing a Best Practices Guid e to Online Teaching and Course Design 140 Future Research 147 Ethnography of Online Teaching 148 Affective Learning in an Online Environment 149 Who are Nontraditional Students? 150 Closing Remarks 151 REFERENCES CITED 155 APPENDICES 174 Appendix A: Web Survey Flow Chart 175 Appendix B: Online Instruct or Interview Protocol 176 Appendix C: Department Chai r Invitation to Participate 179 Appendix D: Study Information Sheet 180 Appendix E: Informed Consent for an Adult 181 Appendix F: Invitation to The C ouncil on Anthropology and Education H-Net List 186 Appendix G: Discussion Topic Examples 187 ABOUT THE AUTHOR End Page
iv LIST OF TABLES Table 1: Anthropology Courses Suitable and Unsuitable for Online Instruction 78
v LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1: Number of Students Enrolled in Online Anthropology Courses Fall 2006 74 Figure 2: Type and Level of Online Anthropology Courses Fall 2006 75 Figure 3: Incentives and Accommod ations for Online Education 80 Figure 4: Why Departments Do Not o ffer Anthropology Courses Online 84
vi The Pedagogy and Politics of Online Education in Anthropology Linda J. Hose ABSTRACT This dissertation reports on the key findi ngs of an exploratory study of online education in anthropology. Th e study was designed to collect information on the extent and types of online offerings at four-year and above degree-granting public institutions in the US. It was also designed to report on the teaching strategies and methods that anthropologists employ online, and to inqui re into the conditions and institutional structures that encourage or discourage the developm ent of online education in anthropology. Recent growth in online education has b een explosive in many disciplines, but little is known about anthropol ogys participation in the trend, or lack thereof. An exploratory research design was used to exam ine this little-unders tood topic. Because participation in online edu cation relies upon collaborati on within departments, the perspectives of both department chairs and online instructors were collected. Both qualitative and quantitative rese arch methods were used to ga ther these perspectives. In particular, an online survey of department chairs and semi-structured e-mail interviews with online instructors were conducted. The research findings indicate that the participation of anthropology departments
vii in online education is fairly low, and plans for future growth are limited. The findings also show that the primary barrier to online education is a lack of faculty interest or technical expertise, although concerns surrounding the effi cacy of online pedagogy and increased workloads appear to limit its growth as well. Significant differences of opinion between online instructors and departme nt chairs regarding the efficacy of online pedagogy were revealed, but there was genera l agreement that onlin e education is an important educational resource for nontraditional students. The contrasting, and sometimes conflicti ng, perspectives that the research revealed point to a need for a conversa tion about online education in anthropology departments, whether or not they have plans to participate in the larger trend. In the concluding chapter, these divergent views inform a fram ework for conducting such a conversation. Finally, the research findings are applied in an outline for the development of a department-specific bes t practices guide to online t eaching and course design in departments that wish to initia te or increase their participation in online education.
1 CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION The purpose of my doctoral research was to examine online education in anthropology at four-year and above, degree-granting public institutions in the United States. My goals were to survey the extent and conditions of its development, and to review the methods and course designs that anthropologists have devised for teaching online. In particular, I combined qualitative and quantitative methods in an exploratory research design to examine the pedagogy and politics of online edu cation in anthropology from the perspectives of both departme nt chairs and online instructors. At the onset of my research, it was ap parent that the pedagogy of anthropology has received little attention, at least in comparison to the extensive libraries on teaching of many other disciplines. Susan Sutton, past Anthropology News contributing editor, points out that teaching is what most an thropologists do most of the time and she believes it should occupy a more central pla ce in our publications and annual meetings (Anthropology News 2006:12). Su ttons assertion has been made many times in the past but it has garnered little notice. The few times that the focus of anthropological literature has turned to the teaching of anthropology have been when demographic or economic shifts required new perspectives on teaching in order to respond to the changing needs of
2 students and the corresponding demands of inst itutions. This disse rtation is a similar response; it was prompted by technological advances that have enabled online education and considers the new perspectives on teaching that are required to address these changes. Theories in online pedagogy and the pedagogy of anthropology informed the pedagogical portion of this study, but much of the material co ncerned with the politics of online education represents a political econom ic perspective that took shape from both literature reviews and the results of my research In particular, the prospect of the growth of online education raises concerns about the "commodification" of education, a process "whereby social domains and institutions, whose concern is not producing commodities in the narrower economic sense of goods for sale, come neve rtheless to be organized and conceptualized in terms of commodity production, dist ribution, and consumption (Fairclough 1992:207). Although I share the concerns about the co mmodification of education that were raised by the anthropologists who participated in this research, I am also a proponent of online education. I teach online courses in anthropology at the University of South Florida and at Central Florida Community Coll ege. My support for online education is also an expression of my long history as a student. I began my post-secondary education in anthropology in 1981, and this dissertation ma rks the conclusion of my formal training in applied anthropology, 26 years later. My pursuit of anthropology was pushed aside for many years to accommodate full-time employment and the demands of being a single parent. Invariably, these accommodations le d to choosing from academic programs that offered the flexibility I required. The c hoices were extremely thin, however, and
3 anthropology was never an available option. Thus, I support the development of online education in anthropology to increase educat ional opportunities for students, as well as to extend the reach of anthropology departments. The first section of this chapter is a su mmary of the research problem as both a pedagogical and structural issu e. Second, I review the goals and questions that guided the research. In the final section, I describe the organization of th is dissertation, and its application to anthropology and other disciplines and professions. Research Problem There has been explosive growth in the number of online courses in recent years and the vast majority of students enrolled in them are concentrated in public institutions. For instance, over 80% of public higher-education institutions in the U.S. offer online courses, with over 1.9 million students in 2003 and over 2.6 million in 2004 (Allen and Seaman 2004). However, anthropologists ha ve had little to say about the growth of online education or the practice of teaching onl ine. The extent to which anthropology courses are offered online is unknown, or at least unpublished. Administrators at the majority of public institutions agree that online learning is critical to their long-term strategy in the future (Allen and Seaman 2004) and have plans to initiate or increase online course offerings (Waits and Lewis 2003). Some academic departments in other disciplines have similar plans, but the futu re plans of anthropology departments remain unclear. In addition to the stated goals and plans of institutions, the viability of online courses, at least in terms of quality, also de pends on the attitudes and dispositions of both
4 departments and instructors. Do anthr opologists view the development of online education as a worthwhile project, an economic imperative, or neither? The development of online teaching strategies and methods in anthropology, in particular, is important. A primary goal of teaching anthropology is to challenge students beliefs, but text-based communication and virtual environments are predisposed to lowering inhibitions and encouraging emotionally-charged language (Hakken 1999; Lawson 2003; Sveningsson 2003). This combination predicts a fairly high level of tension in online anthropology courses, such as I have observed in the online courses I teach, and suggests a need for teaching methods that are uniquely designed. Instructors in many disciplines embrace online technology, elect to teach online, and generously share their ideas. However, some educators are reluctant to do the same for several reasons. They argue that teaching online is significantly more timeconsuming than teaching in traditional classrooms, and is made even more burdensome as the ever-increasing workloads of faculty are met with diminishing resources from institutions (Levine and Sun 2002). Also, questions about the ownership of online courses can create a lack of interest in pursuing online teaching (Zhang and CarrChellman 2001). In addition to these problem s, anthropologists who are interested in teaching online are unlikely to find guidance si nce the topic is scarcely mentioned in anthropological litera ture, and piecing together strate gies in teaching anthropology and online approaches of other disciplines can produce a confusing teaching plan.
5 Disparate Pedagogies The emerging trend in online education ha s not been ignored by scholars; ample literature exists discussing online pedagogy fr om numerous disciplinary perspectives. However, literature focused on the teachi ng of anthropology scar cely mentions the practice of online teaching, and the disc onnection between the goals of teaching anthropology and the online methods of other disciplines is worrisome. Literature concerned with online pe dagogy emphasizes methods aimed to promote collaborative learning and stresses the provision of n on-threatening online environments (Barab, et al. 2004). In cont rast, anthropological literature emphasizes teaching methods that promote active and hands-on learning, (Borofsky 1997; Michaels and Fagan 1997; Kottak 2000; Krulfeld 2000; Rice 2000) and encourages strategies that challenge students beliefs in tentionally (Albert 1963; Robbi ns and De Vita 1985; Ember and Ember 1997). Primary among the collaborative learni ng approaches proposed for online teaching is the development of online learning communities, an idea often referenced by the works of anthropologists, Lave and Wenger (Lave and Wenger 1991; Wenger 1998). In these works, Lave and Wenger pr opose that knowledge is co-constructed from the ideas and practices of members of a group. Supposedly, this knowledge emerges over time from the tensions that arise within the group. Howe ver, Lave and Wengers ideas are absent from anthropological literature focused on teaching, and the tensions that arise when students beliefs are challenged in an online context are not addressed. These pedagogical differences became appa rent during the first semester of the online course that I teach, an introductory cultural anthropol ogy course for non-majors.
6 Many of the core topics in this course el icited defensive responses and contentious interactions among students. Although I ha d observed similar reactions among students in traditional classrooms, th e virtual environment seemed to embolden students and increase misunderstandings. Some of the ethnocentric arguments that students composed and posted on discussion boards were alarming. One solution to this problem, I concluded, was to avoid sensitive material in online discussion forums, but that would have excluded a major goal of teaching anthropology and also leave few anthropological concepts to discuss. In addition to these pedagogical and contextual problems in online education, some educators argue that institutional structures create other problems that discourage faculty from teaching online. Structural Concerns An anthropology professor recently lament ed to me that the commercialization of post-secondary education wrongly conceptualized faculty as i nstructional units. She feared that the practice of teaching was bei ng rapidly redefined in public institutions to achieve purely economic goals. She argued th at teaching was more than instruction, she was not a unit, and her role as an instructor did not cease when she left the university at the end of the day. The concerns she raised, and their implications in the works and lives of faculty, have been emphasized by advances in interactive technology and the development of online education. Online instruction, and distance education in general, are often thought of as ways to economize, but experienced distance educat ors argue that online courses do not save money, time, faculty, or staff (Haythornt hwaite and Kazmer 2004; Palloff and Pratt
7 2001; Shaw and Young 2003). In 1999, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) addressed the issue of the increased demands of online teaching and concluded that online instructors will usually require significant release time from teaching during an academic term prior to the offering of the new course (AAUP 1999b). However, there is little evidence th at such accommodations have occurred in most institutions. One complaint about online courses is th at they are poorly designed (Bruckman 2004; Haythornthwaite and Kazmer 2004; Thwait es 2002; Trias i. Valls 2002), but some educators argue that they are often poorly designed because both institutions and educators are underprepared (Levine and Sun 2002) Indeed, this was the case in the first anthropology course I taught on line. Although I had fairly ad vanced technical skills and adequate experience in multimedia and instru ctional design, I did not anticipate many of the other problems I would encounter. Fo r example, I was assured by the system administrator that the course was previously offered online and was available for my use, but he neglected to inform me that the uni versity had since changed course management systems. I discovered that the course I was to use was rendered dysfunctional in the process, and with a class of nearly 200 stude nts scheduled to begin in less than a week, I had to rebuild the course from scratch. It was only after reconstruc ting the course that I considered the implications of appropriati ng the course my predecessor had designed, although the system administrator believed th at the course could be shared freely. Typically, the design of a traditional course is assumed to be the property of autonomous university faculty, but the use of course management systems, such as Blackboard and WebCT, has rais ed questions about the ownership of online courses.
8 Online courses, in particular, are considered valuable commodities, and institutions are motivated to establish ownership (Bunker 2001). Although the AAUP (1999) argues that a course designer should be given rights in c onnection with the future use of a course, the Association of Amer ican Universities (AAU 2001) argues that online courses are collaborative creations that are owned by the institutions. Another concern is that online courses may be used without proper attributi on or changed without the creators approval (Zhang and Carr-Chellman 2001). These concerns have intensified as online courses are increasingly sold by or exchanged among institutions (2004 Carnevale). These institutional policies and politics have deterred some educators from sharing their online work (Brent 2005). Ho wever, the popularity of online courses and the recent growth in their numbers appear to have overcome these concerns. National studies reflect increasing participation in on line education in nume rous disciplines and the library of literature concerned with onlin e teaching is also increasing. My doctoral research was designed to interjec t the voices of anthropologists in to the conversation. Research Goals and Questions One main goal of my research was to pr ovide the views of on line instructors and department chairs since national studies usua lly rely on institutional perspectives of online education to reach their conclusions. B ecause little is known about the practice of teaching anthropology online, another goal of th e research was to situate the strategies and methods of teaching online within the pedagogy of anthropology, and vice versa. The following research questions were designed to enable these goals.
9 What is the state of online education in anthropology? The answer to this question can provide a glimpse into the extent and types of online courses currently being offere d in anthropology departments. How do we teach anthropology online? This question inquires into the specific strategies, methods, and course designs that anthropology instructors employ online and the problems that such a learning environment poses. It also asks how anthropologists bridge the differences between online pedagogy and the methods and goals of teaching anthropology in traditional classrooms. What factors support or discourage th e development of online education in anthropology? This question focuses on identifying institut ional incentives or barriers to teaching online, and also aims to gain insight into the ways anthropologists incorporate the demands of online teaching into their professional and personal lives. Dissertation Organization Chapters two, three, and four are literature reviews that provide the context for a discussion of the research results that follow. Chapter two is a hist orical review of the practice of teaching anthropology. It provide s the context for understanding the major teaching goals, problems, strategies, and methods that anthropologists have identified. Chapter three is an overview of the emergence of online educ ation and is a discussion of the major teaching approaches and methods of contemporary distance education theories. In chapter four, I review th e literature concer ned with online teaching in anthropology
10 specifically. Chapter five is a discussion of issues in virtual research that are relevant to this work, and provides a desc ription of the methods I used to conduct the research and analyze the results. The chapters that follow are examina tions of the resear ch results and are organized loosely around the three research questions discussed above. In particular, chapter six is an overview of online educati on in anthropology departments in terms of course offerings, the incentives and barriers that are in place, and the future plans for online courses. In chapter seven, the instruct ors who took part in th e study are introduced and their motivations for teach ing online are revealed. Al so, I discuss the work of teaching online according to perceptions of both online instructors and department chairs. Finally, chapter eight is an examination of the pedagogy of teaching anthropology online as it is described by the onlin e instructors who to ok part in the research, including the teaching problems they have encountered, the strategies and methods they use, and courses they have designed. In the concluding chapter, the major issues that emerged from the research results are woven into recommendations for anthropology departments. These recommendations take the form of a guide for engaging in a conversation about onlin e education, assessing departmental resources and institutional st ructures, and developing a best practices guide to online teaching and course design. I also provide ideas for future research and share some of the online methods I employ. This research has value for the discipline as it contributes new perspectives on approaches to teaching anthropology. As an applied project, it also has broader applications. The expertise and tested methods of anthropology instructors who routinely
11 impart challenging concepts to diverse groups of students in an online context have the potential to inform a broad range of onlin e educators and other professionals. For example, cultural awareness and sensitivity ar e considered essential job skills in many disciplines that are increasing their presence in online education. This is especially true in the areas of business and e ducation. Attention to cultural diversity has been prompted by globalization and the growth of multi cultural communities and workplaces, and electronic communication and online co llaboration are commonplace in many professions in which applied anthropologist s are engaged. Theref ore, anthropologists have the need to understand the implications of online trends in education and in other professional realms.
12 CHAPTER TWO TEACHING ANTHROPOLOGY According to anthropological literature, what we are doing when we teach anthropology has changed significantly in recent decad es, but the major goals of teaching have remained static for at le ast 40 years. However, only a few surges of interest in the topic are apparent during that time. These periods of renewed interest were often preceded by demographic and economic changes, and produced literature that considered the teaching of anthropology in terms of the changing needs of students. Some of the problems in teaching anthropology are related to these demographic and economic shifts, and other problems are rooted in the history, goals, and subject matte r of anthropology. Historically, a general lack of interest in the practice of teaching within the discipline itself has been a persistent problem and some anthropologists believe that it has been an isolating force. Another problem is that it provides only a sketchy view of the practice of teaching anthropology to newcomers. In this chapter I reconstruct the hist ory of teaching anthropology. The first section provides a historical context su rrounding the pedagogy of anthropology and the conditions involved in the peri odic waxing and waning of inte rest in the subject. The second section is an examination of the most notable teaching problems and issues that have been identified by anthropology instructors. Finally, I conn ect the long-standing
13 goals of teaching anthropol ogy to the methods and strate gies that contemporary anthropology instructors employ. History Anthropologists have been teaching in uni versities for over a century but interest in the teaching of anthropology has a short history by comparison. During this brief history, interest in teaching a ppears to have been fairly weak. The scant number of publications concerned with th e practice of teaching in anth ropology is contrasted with substantial libraries on teaching in many other disciplines. Anthropological l iterature does not explain the reasons for this difference, but it does reveal some of the pressures within the discipline that may have contributed to the lack of interest during the past 40 years. The first comprehensive texts that were focused specifically on the teaching of anthropology were companion volumes entitled, The Teaching of Anthropology (Mandelbaum et al. 1963) and Resources for the Teaching of Anthropology (Mandelbaum et al. 1963b) These publications were heralded as th e mark of a new era of interest in teaching (Hallowell 1963:144), yet it was another 34 years before th e second major text, The Teaching of Anthropology: Problems, Issues, and Decisions (Kottak 1997), appeared. Only a few minor publications were added to the library in intervening years. These publications, albeit few, render a rev ealing view of the development of the pedagogy of anthropology, and set the stage for an examination of the methods and strategies that modern anthr opology instructors utilize.
14 Although the 1963 companion volumes were he ralded as the beginning of a new era of interest, that era either failed to mate rialize or was very s hort-lived. Instead of signaling the beginning of sustained intere st in teaching, the publication of the companion volumes were more a response to the pressures related to increasing undergraduate enrollment in anthropology cour ses that took place during the early 1960s (Mandelbaum 1963). In a review of the 1963 volumes, Hallowell (1963) offers readers a sense of the prevailing view of teaching in the discipline from his perspective as an anthropology teacher for over 40 years. Since the great leaders of the past were men deeply committed to research and, so far as teaching was concerne d, to the training of students who aspired to pursue and develop the di scipline itself, many of the problems discussed in these volumes did not aris e in any acute form for a long time. The question, for example, of whether teachers of undergraduate anthropology can be fully effec tive without a background of field experience was hardly pertinent. Furthe rmore, the profession was, at first, so small in numbers that for many y ears a room of moderate size could easily accommodate all those who a ttended the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association. It is not strange then, that the intimacy and ease of social interaction di d not lead to formal papers, or to publications dealing with the teach ing of anthropology. Everyone knew pretty well what everyone else wa s doing, and there were more exciting subjects to discuss. [Hallowell 1963:144] The problems that were discussed in the 1963 volumes, and to which Hallowell referred, were related to teaching undergraduat e courses that were filled with increasing numbers of students, a fairly new trend in the 1960s. Anthropology instructors struggled with the problem of how to teach intr oductory courses to large classrooms of undergraduate students (Hul se 1963; Mandelbaum 1963). Hallowell also noted a corresponding trend in the production of anthr opology texts, and he at tributed both to the hordes of students that populated the cl asses of the academic descendants of the
15 pioneer teachers (1963:144). Hallowell was referring to the academic descendants of Franz Boas, and specifically Margaret Mead, a star student of Boas and contributor to The Teaching of Anthropology volume. Many of the contributing authors to the text concentrated on combating ethnocentrism by providing students with exam ples of cultures from around the world. Their ultimate goal was to transmit an anthropo logical point of view to students (Bruner and Spindler 1963; Du Bois 1963; Albert 1963) by exposing them to diverse cultures, although the authors provided fe w strategies to accomplish that goal. Their primary teaching strategy was to inform, explain, a nd impart anthropological concepts through techniques of good lecturing (Mandelbaum1963:17). Student enrollment in anthropology course s and academic interest in teaching, continued to flourish, at least for a few years. In an abridged edition of the text published four years later, Ma ndelbaum wrote, as students in rapidly increasing numbers have become interested in the study of anthropology, anthropologists have become increasingly concerned with developing the teaching of anthropology (Mandelbaum 1967:v). However, the increasing interest in the practice of teaching that Mandelbaum observed was not apparent in anthropologica l literature in subsequent years. The next major publication that fo cused on the teachi ng of anthropology, TwoWay Mirror: Anthropologists and Educators Observe Themselves and Others (Anthropology Curriculum Study Pr oject 1972), reflected the influence of psychological anthropology that had been popularized by Mead. The publication reported on a 10-year study designed to promote the inclusion of anthropology into high school curriculums. Sponsored by the American Anthropological Association (AAA) and funded by the
16 National Science Foundation (NSF), the study in strumentalized concepts in learning through social interactions. Through psyc hological testing, res earchers sought to determine the best methods to teach hi gh school anthropology by linking patterns of group behavior to student lear ning outcomes. Although the report was not a very useful instructional tool for post-secondary anthr opology teachers, it is important to this discussion because it reflects a shift in teachi ng methods, from passive lecture to active student participation, since stude nt discussions were an important part of the educational plan that the study eventually produced. Interest in teaching anthropology was a pparent in all four issues of the Council on Anthropology and Education Quarterly (CAEQ) journal published in 1976. Another shift in teaching strategies is evident during this time as the editors of the first issue claimed that the highly conceptual, inquiry-oriented (Dobbert et al. 1976:3) nature of the articles demonstrated that anthropology ha s gotten over a large hump (Dobbert et al. 1976:3). The hump in this case was the traditional content-ba sed focus of earlier anthropology instructors and courses. The authors focused on imparting anthropological concepts to students rather than th e usual lists of diverse cultu res and subjects. The 1976 issues contained ideas for teaching students about anthropological concepts, often using an active and participatory (Troup 1976: 8) approach to teaching. In addition to the focus on concepts in these issues, the problem of a lack of interest in teaching was revived again. The editors noted, as a le gitimate, substantive area of professional interest, teaching anth ropology is both new and marginal.even within the CAE (Dobbert et al. 1976:1). Th ey also emphasized that the consequence of
17 academic apathy toward teaching was that it cr eated intellectual distance and isolation among the few instructors who were focused on teaching. The focus on anthropological concepts rather than content reappeared in a special issue of the journal in 1985 that addressed the teaching of anthropology. Published under the journals new title: Anthropology & Education Quarterly (AEQ), this special issue reflected a move toward a more critical appr oach to teaching. The contributing authors focused on strategies and methods aimed to pr omote an issues and values orientation to anthropological concepts (R obbins and De Vita 1985:251). Concurrently, studies of cross-cultural cognition were pr evalent in educational anth ropology. These studies called for a move beyond concern with cognitive prope rties as static phenomena that people do or do not have in their heads, to a concern with practice a nd activity (Pelissier 1991:80). The influence of these studies in educational anthropology is apparent in the 1985 AEQ special issue since contributing authors stressed teaching methods that were studentcentered (Robbins and De Vita 1985:252) and focused on learning through simulation (Podolefsky 1985) and improvisation (Rice 1985b). Once again, commentaries on the lack of inte rest in teaching and its impact on the discipline were included in the 1985 special issu e on teaching, and the level of frustration it produced among some anthropo logists appears to have in tensified. Both Rice and Higgins, guest editor and contributing aut hor respectively, lamented the quantity and quality of publications that were concer ned with the teaching of anthropology. Rice wrote, Unfortunately, there are few books or c ourses on the subject of teaching us how to teach our subject. Mandelbaum, Lasker, and Alberts 1963 The Teaching of Anthropology is about the nearest thing one can find to a
18 manual for anthropology teachers. In the succeeding 22 years, there has been a conspicuous dearth of published materials on teaching anthropology. [Rice 1985:250] Higgins added, the literature devoted to the teaching of anthropology is relatively sparse and of highly uneven quality (Higgins 1985:318 ) and she pointed ou t that anthropology was one of only a few disciplines that did not have a journal devoted to its teaching. Neither Rice nor Higgins offered an explanation for this literary vacuum, but there are hints about the cause in Higgins critique. She described a regard for teaching within the discipline that wa s eerily similar to that described by Hallowell in 1963. She noted, even when writing about teaching, it seems anthropologists have treated the subject as more suitable for a personal philosophy essay, an isolated case study, or a collection of anecdotes an extension of the oral exchange over coffee than for a scholarly article (Higgins 1985:319). Higgins was also critical of the au thorship in the earlier volume of The Teaching of Anthropology, noting that only five of the fifty-one contributors gave any indication of previous scholarly work in education, and th at few contributing authors even bothered to cite previous literature on the topic of teaching anthropology. Higgins pointed out that the editors of the 1963 volume had argued that th e scarcity of previous literature required that each writer began afresh, but she assert ed that this explanation only dismissed the larger problem of a lack of interest that cont inued to haunt the discip line. She remarked, the practice of each writer beginning anew was quickly resumed, and few subsequent articles even cited the Mandelbaum et al. volume (Higgins 1985:319). A pervasive lack of interest in the practice of teaching was not the only problem that made teaching anthropology difficult in the 1980s. Another major problem was that
19 student enrollment in anthropology courses had declined sharply from the 1960s to the1980s. The needs of students and the expectations of teachers had also changed. The typical anthropology student wa s more interested in potential job prospects than in acquiring a liberal education (Higgins 1985:321). Thus, th e discipline of anthropology needed to offer job-oriented skills and cred entials in order to a ttract more students. However, resources for instructors were not increased along with these growing expectations. Many anthropology departments faced large budget cuts and few instructors were afforded graduate teaching assistants (Higgins 1985; Steadman, et al. 1988). At the same time, anthropology teachers were pressured to invest more time and energy into making their courses enticing to students (Higgins 1985). In response, the 1985 AEQ special issue was characterized as a how-to-do-it guide (Rice 1985:250), complete with stepby-step instructions for courses and activities that were potentially interesting to students and could be easily duplicated by other instructors. The next special issue of the AEQ jour nal that focused on teaching was published in 1990 and revealed the growing influen ce of postmodernism in anthropology. This time, many contributing authors focused on certain teaching themes, rather than on specific methods. They called for the developm ent of critical reas oning skills in students and urged instructors to enc ourage reflexivity (deRoche and deRoche 1990; Peterson 1990; Segal 1990) through critical examinati on of Western culture. Although the idea that anthropology is us (Erickson and Rice 1990:105) was not new to anthropologists, it was a fresh approach to teaching at the ti me. This new teaching technique was intended to raise students awareness of their own cultural context and also acknowledge the
20 increasing diversity in anthr opology classrooms, as well as in the communities where students lived. The themes and issues surrounding divers ity among students were also the main points of consideration in the next major publication, The Teaching of Anthropology: Problems, Issues, and Decisions (Kottak et al. 1997). Si milar to the 1963 volume of The Teaching of Anthropology (Mandelbaum et al. 1963), a larg e portion of the text focused on teaching undergraduate and introductory courses and included pieces from each of the four fields of anthropology. The contributi ng authors also attempted to account for the recent growth of interest in applied anthr opology and devoted an entire chapter to its teaching. Another section of the text was focused on teaching precollegiate courses, although it was noted again that anthropology was not typically taught in high-schools (Cheek 1997). Interest in the teaching of high-school anth ropology appears to have diminished in the next major publication on teaching in 2000, the first edition of Strategies in Teaching Anthropology (2000 Rice and McCurdy). This vo lume was followed by two subsequent editions in 2002 (Rice and McCurdy) and 2004 (Rice and McCurdy). These texts were described as sequels (K ottak 2004:xv) to the 1997 The Teaching of Anthropology volume and were focused specifically on teachin g methods. The editors stressed that they purposely did not want to focus on pedagogy (Rice and McCurdy 2004:vii) because the 1997 volume was dedicated to that concern. Indeed, much of the information about the goals, problems, issues discussed in subsequent sections of this ch apter are drawn from the 1997 volume, whereas most of the exampl es of strategies and methods are drawn from the editions of Strategies in Teaching Anthropology.
21 Together, the foregoing publications co mprise the major portion of literature focused specifically on the teaching of anth ropology. Although a lack of interest in teaching has been a persistent problem, th e fact that subsequent editions of Strategies in Teaching Anthropology rather quickly followed the first suggests a move toward a more sustained interest in teaching than had been the case in the past. Another promising development is that a secti on of two recent issues of Anthropology News (January 2007; February 2007) and one issue of the Practicing Anthropology journal (2007) were also focused on teaching anthropology. The fact that two of these publications sections were concerned with online, distance, or distant learning suggests that this most recent surge of interest in teaching anthropology may be an expression of anothe r demographic and economic shift. But this time, the changing needs of students are conne cted to advances in online technology. Huber (2007) points out that new technologies are making inroads in all realms of life, not least in education itself. and shifting education goals and priorities, developments in the disciplines and changes in the world fo r which students are being prepared calls for a considered pedagogical response (Huber 2007:23). Both Huber (2007) and Boyd (2007) discuss the importance of learning outsi de of the classroom, and Boyd (2007) and Lewine (2007) describe the us e of collaborative projects in their classes. In these publications, the marginal position (Lew ine 2007:24) of teaching and learning in anthropology is questioned once again.
22 Problems and Issues Some of the challenges of teaching in an thropology are unique but other teaching problems, or at least the elements that contribute to problems, are shared by many disciplines. For instance, the low regard fo r teaching is posed as a unique concern in anthropology but, according to Fuentes (2001), it is part of a larger structural problem that affects many disciplines. Fuentes argues th at the problem exists because institutions of higher education value research more than teaching. He also raises other economic concerns. In one example, he points out th at the amount of prepar ation needed for an introductory course usually exceeds that of ot her courses but is not adequately accounted for in decisions about tenure and promotions Fuentes believes that these conditions create problems for instructors, students, and in stitutions alike. He points out that since most instructors will elect not to teach introductory courses, given the choice, they miss the opportunity to increa se the audience interested in their research. Also, he argues, departments fail to connect with st udents who are potential majors. Other problems related to teaching an thropology specifically are usually characterized as gaps of one sort or another. For instan ce, the contributing authors of both the 1963 and 1997 volumes of The Teaching of Anthropology point to the gap between the educational aims of students and those of instructors. According to French, students understand education as a kind of ec onomizing process -they participate only to the extent that will minimize effort and maximize rewards, and especially grades (French 1963:142). Nearly 35 years later, Haviland (1997) notes that the problem is much the same today, and he asserts that anth ropology courses are especially prone to the
23 problem because they frequently fulfill ot her social science or general education requirements. Haviland (1997) points out that introductory anthropology courses also appeal to many students that have an elective slot to fill because having encountered exotic peoples through such sources as National Geographic Magazine or films and videos such as Indiana Jones they decide to sign up for a course that they think will be all about strange people living in bizarre ways in mysterious places (Haviland 1997:34). Some anthropologists contend that this image of anthropology is perpetuated in introductory courses and textbooks that survey a wide variety of cultures, and they warn that this form of ethnic snacking is hazardous to the goals of cultura l understanding (Pack 2002:164). Another problem for anthropology inst ructors is the watering down of intellectual standards and a corresponding grade inflatio n (Borofsky 1997:47). This problem is also characterized as a gap, but one that exists between the academic expectations and educational backgrounds of instructors and students, that renders significantly different ideas about what need s to be learned and why. To illustrate, Borofsky refers to the gentlemans C (1997:47) mentioned by many contributing authors to the 1963 volume. He asserts that the problem has worsened in intervening years. He claims that the C has been elev ated to a B and has produced a population of students with good grades but who are unable to analyze ideas critically or read and write effectively. Thus, Borofsky encourages inst ructors to accept that teaching, in this context, means beginning where students are (1997:52-53).
24 Although the idea of beginning where students are can help instructors develop more realistic course goals and objectives, and can contribute to the development of students analytical skills, the time demands required for doing so in heavily-populated introductory classes can be prohibitive. Additionally, where students are may be unfamiliar terrain for many university professo rs, considering the huge gap between the student taking an anthropology class for the first time, and faculty members who are located in their own dense s ubject matter (Moses 2004:xvi). Another gap in anthropology classrooms manifests as dissonance, or even silent confusion (Breitborde 1997:43). In addition to intellectual and educational differences between anthropology instructors and their students, there are increasing cultural differences between them. To a ddress these differences, Breitborde urges anthropology instructors to take their et hnography into their classrooms and ask how race, ethnicity, gender, age, values, and othe r qualities shape the way students respond to us and condition our mutual expectations (1997:43). The problem of silence in the classroom is mentioned frequently in literature concerned with the teaching of anthropology (see Caulkins and Bentley-Condit 2000; Ellenbaum 2000; Flinn 2002; Rice 2002). Wh ether this problem is the result of confusion, lack of interest, shyness, cultural, or economic differences, many contemporary anthropologists address silen ce in the classroom with participatory strategies that are grounded in critical theoretical perspectives. In order to understand how these perspectives have been transforme d into teaching methods, the major teaching approaches and goals in anthr opology should be identified.
25 Major Teaching Approaches and Goals Although the theoretical perspectives of anthropology instructors are diverse (Friedl 1997), literature focused on teach ing anthropology sugges ts that teaching approaches are shared by a majority of anth ropology instructors at any given time, or at least this appears to be the case. This can be seen in the teacher-cen tered, passive learning model favored in the 1963s volume of The Teaching of Anthropology and the studentcentered, active learning approaches that dom inated the 1985 AEQ journal issues. These trends in teaching are not unique to anthr opology, however, but rather reflect larger epistemological movements in academia as a whole. The movement from a static, passive view of knowledge toward a more adaptive and active view emerged from constructivist theories of learning in education that have influenced the strategies and methods of teaching in numerous disciplines (Brooks 1999). Still, a constructivist approach to teac hing seems especially compatible with the discipline of anthropology. In addition to being focu sed on the construction of knowledge through social intera ctions, a constructivist appr oach to learning provides multiple representations of reality and represents the natural complexity of the real world (Jonassen 1994:35). Indeed, anthropo logical research has been focused on these aims for many years, but the transition to active learning approaches in classrooms reportedly creates a more dynamic and eff ective learning experience for students. Contemporary literature about teaching anthropology makes clear, although not explicitly stated, that anthropologist have em braced constructivist approaches to teaching. For instance, Michaels and Fagan assert that effec tive learning is dynamic and interactive (1997:242), Rice argues that students should be ac tive participants in their
26 own learning experience" (2000:21), and Graber claims that stude nts invariably show heightened interest when they're told th ey will be involved in active-learning (Graber 2000:38). In addition, Krulfe ld promotes teaching that involves hands-on learning (2000:141), and Kottak suggests a learning-by-doing principa l that involves" teamwork "and "joint work" (2000:xiii). Finally, Borofsky asserts that there is an obviousness to having students actively involved in the le arning processit resonates with our own development as anthropologists our moving fr om reading texts as graduate students to conducting independent fieldwor k, to teaching the subject matter and writing about it (1997:47). The apparent consensus regarding a stude nt-centered, active approach to teaching in anthropology is matched by a general agreement on the major teaching goals. Although some anthropologists offer convincing arguments for prioritiz ing one particular goal over another, most of thei r proposals are variations on th ree general aims that have been reiterated for more than 40 years. These aims are (1) to promote cultural understanding and an apprecia tion for cultural diversity (Mead 1963; Rice 1985; Nanda 1997), (2) to challenge long-held beliefs (Albert 1963; Robbins and De Vita 1985; Ember and Ember 1997), and (3) to develop personal and intellectual empowerment (Mandelbaum 1963; Robins & DeVita 1985; Bo rofsky 1997). However, I think the third aim is actually an outcome of the success of the first two. These major goals of teaching overlap extensively and are also held together by underlying themes in holism, and cultural diversity and change. Another idea that more subtly permeates literatu re concerned with the te aching of anthropology is relevance not only the relevance of anthropology in a st udents daily life but also the relevance of
27 an anthropological point of view in an increasingly multicultural world. Ultimately, anthropologists believe that the overarchi ng purpose of teaching anthropology is to empower students with the tools that w ill allow them to continue empowering themselves intellectually long after the c ourse is over (Bor ofsky1997:53; also see Robbins and DeVita, 1985; Friedl 1997). Connecting Goals, Strategies, and Methods Teaching goals, however eloquently state d, are only abstract ideas without the tools to achieve them, and the tools of teaching are the strategies and methods that instructors employ. Even without an abundance of guiding literature, anthropology instructors have devised many ways to achieve the goals of challeng ing students beliefs and enhancing cultural awareness. Much as the major goals of anthropology overlap, the methods and strategies of teaching also inte rconnect. Thus, the distinction made between the methods and strategies toward one goal or another in the following section is based on my perception of the main focus of each author. Challenging Beliefs The goal of challenging students beli efs is a common theme in literature concerned with the teaching of anthropology. I think one reason for the prominence of challenge in the writings of anthropology teacher s is that challenge is often present in anthropology classrooms, even when it is un intended. That is, anthropology instructors are often confronted with th e question of what to do wh en students react to new unprecedented notions of community thatmake the world in a very real sense a more
28 complicated, difficult, and troubled place to liv e in than would otherwise be the case (Breitborde 1997:41). The distress that students sometimes experience when they are confronted with values dissimilar to their own can be troub ling, yet some anthropology instructors believe it is their job to introduce disturbing ideas; they are in the busin ess of disturbing, of raising consciousness, of making people uneasy of doing this deliberately (Breitborde 1997:41). In order to do this, Haviland asserts that a good deal of debunking is required (1997:36) and Nanda argues that anthropology instructors should engage students in disquieting activ ities and ideas (1997:114). In addition, Ember and Ember (1997:32) claim that the most important thi ng that we can transmit to students is the uncertainty of knowledge. Since both textbooks and instructors often present theories as irrefutable facts, many students leave the cl assroom convinced that they have been granted a vision of absolute truth. These theories do not just lie dormant in the minds of students. A handful of theories can cover a lot of ground, and can create reoccurring barriers to learning as students generalize them across disciplines i ndiscriminately. For instance, in the introductory cultural anthropology course that I teach, students routinely condense ideas about social and cultural change to cases of s urvival of the fittest, and repeatedly assign gendered ideology to the biology of women. To address these misplaced perceptions of scientific truth, Ember and Ember suggest we should first teach a little philosophy of science, statistics, and research design, all of which convey the uncertainty in all knowledge and in all testing (1997:32). Another intri guing method that Ember and Ember propose is to model uncertainty. That is, to reveal the uncertainty of our own
29 knowledge when we lack answers, and to let students know that they may have answers to questions that have not yet be en considered (1997:32-33). In addition to deconstructing scientific theories, many anthropology instructors focus on issues surrounding gender, race, and cl ass to challenge students beliefs. For example, Epples strategy is to disrupt ideas and practices that students accept as natural or given [that] are instead cu ltural constructions (2002:78). To accomplish this, Epple provides students with activities for a gender non-conformity experience that involves ways to behave non-traditiona lly, (2002:81) such as cross-dressing, or reading gender-specific magazines in a public place (e.g., a male student reading a fashion magazine in a student lounge). Foster (1997) contends that she challenges students cultural beliefs by simply appeari ng at the front of the classroom after first sitting among them in the classroom. She asserts that her very presence as an African American professor is often th e first thing that challenges students notions about race and class. Foster further challenges students to uncover signs, reports, and other items in their communities that reflect institutionalized racism and present them to the class. Enhancing Cultural Awareness and Appreciation White proposes that one of the primary functions of an anth ropology course is to challenge the limited notions of ethnicity that students.bring with them (1997:73). Some anthropologists believe th at an effective method for helping students to understand themselves as cultural beings is to c onduct studies in self-e thnography (White 1997; Caughey 2000; Chambers 2004). Presumably, students will acquire cultural selfawareness that will generalize and eventually ex pand their view to incl ude other cultures.
30 Campbell (2002) concurs with White that anthropology should first teach students to understand themselves, noting that the problem with a students ability to perceive the connections between cultures is that they don t think of themselves as cultural beings (Campbell 2002:139). To encourage students to perceive themselves as cultural beings, Moses and Mukhopadhyay take self-ethnography a step further and encourage students to use what they learn about themselves to negotiate cultural boundaries. They start by asking their students to list ei ght to ten microcultures to which they belong (1997:92). Moses and Mukhopadhyay claim that when th ese social networks are shared and compared among students, they discover co mmonalities and are ab le to expand their perception of their own ethnicity. In both cas es, the teaching aim is to reveal ones own identity as a cultural construct. Another way to reveal identity as a cultu ral construct is to expose students to a sort of microscopic view of their own d eeply-embedded cultural assumptions. The point is to stimulate students to think more critic ally about the everyday things that they take for granted, and to analyze th e cultural background noise that typically surrounds them. One example of this strategy, provided by Bi rd (2000), entails viewing TV commercials aimed at children to encourage students to think about cultural messages about gender that are pervasive, but of ten go unnoticed. After a brief introduction to gender enculturation, students view the commercials and come to conclusions about the cultural messages they contain that teach children eith er how to be male or how to be female (2000:145) Bird observes, by the time the disc ussion is over, the students are usually marveling at the way they have taken the gender coding in these commercials so much for granted (2000:145).
31 Other instructors encourage cultural awareness by generating critical insider/outsider views. For instance, Nanda (1997) renders the familiar as exotic by showing films about American culture made by foreign anthropologists, and Pedelty (2001) reveals the exotic as familiar through performance. Pedelty asks students to perform several scenes from a play about th e Spanish conquest of Mexico. He believes that performance helps students to understa nd the complexities of Mexican culture since performance requires at least some level of empathy and identification with the character, role and cu lture (2001:246). He also believe s that performance encourages cultural awareness because it is more difficu lt to apply ethnocentric distinctions when adopting an inside position. (2001:246) The foregoing examples are only a few of the strategies and methods that anthropology instructors apply to address th e problems and achieve the goals of teaching anthropology. It is importan t to note that most of the ex amples herein are aimed to change students perceptions of anthropology as the study of exotic others located at faraway places. Many of the strategies are pointed at us rather than at them. It should also be acknowledged that teaching does not always mirror that which is represented in literature. Although a cont ent approach to teaching anthropology and the corresponding method of classroom lecture that were prevalent in the 1960s may be considered outdated by many authors cited in this chapter, Nancy White, archaeologist and faculty member of the Anthropology Depart ment at the University of South Florida, pointed out to me that a walk through the ha lls of the Social Scie nce building proves that lectures still dominate in many anthropology classrooms.
32 Methods of assessment are scarcely considered in any detail in literature that discusses the practice of teaching anthropology, but is discussed briefly by Mandelbaum in the 1963 volume of The Teaching of Anthropology. Mandelbaum points out that some sort of examination is require d by reason of the structure of academic institutions, but that for large parts of anthropology, th e so-called objective examination cannot accurately reflect the purpose of the teachi ng (1963:18). Thus, he concludes: the obvious solution is to base the final grade more on written work, done in response to essay questions, laboratory work, and fi eld assignments (Mandelbaum 1963:19). Conclusion The absence of a large body of literature concerned with the practice of teaching anthropology seems to imply that knowledge of the subject is th e only skill that is required. However, the authors cited in this chapter demonstrate that there is much more involved in the teaching of anthropology than just subject knowledge. There is general agreement among anthropologists with regard to the goals of teaching, and on the importance of using techniques that are ac tive, student-centered and, more recently, collaborative. However, an effective av enue for communicating these techniques to would-be anthropology instructors is lacking. One possible reason for this is that few, if any, incentives or rewards exist for research on teaching in the social sciences. This chapter has tracked the conditions surrounding the intermittent waves of interest in teaching anthropol ogy during the past 40 years, an d the related transformation of focus from content to concep ts and from external to inte rnal views. Teaching methods have also changed. For instance, as interest in applied anthropology increased, it was met
33 with more hands-on and active approaches to learning. It is esp ecially important to notice that the focus on teach ing in recent issues of Anthropology News and Practicing Anthropology suggests that the level of interest in teaching anthropology may be on the rise again. There is reason to believe that an incr eased demand for online education is being felt in the discipline of anthropology since the use of technology and online approaches to teaching are emerging themes in these publica tions. In the following chapter, the focus shifts to online pedagogy specifically, and as it has developed within the larger context of distance education. The problems and issues associated with on line teaching and the changing roles of teachers and students ar e examined. In addition, instructional technology and online course design are in troduced as evolving tools of teaching.
34 CHAPTER THREE TEACHING ONLINE Online instruction is a distinct form of distance education in which the main mode of communication between instructors and stude nts is the Internet. Communication in an online course can be divided in to two general types, synchronous and asynchronous (Barron 1998; Holcomb et al. 2004). S ynchronous communication takes place in realtime such as in chat rooms and teleconf erencing. Asynchronous communication, such as e-mail and discussion boards, are delaye d forms of communication and do not require that participants be online at the same time (Horton and Horton 2003). These two types of communication also correspond to two t ypes of online courses, described as facilitated and instr uctor-led (Horton and Horton 2003:17). A facilitated approach is overwhelmingly favored in literature on on line teaching, and all bu t one of the online instructors who took part in this research also used this a pproach. Thus, it is the main focus of this chapter. In the sense that an instructors primary aim is to fulfill the goals of a particular discipline, the role of a teacher in an online course is essent ially the same as that of a teacher in a traditional classroom. However, th e absence of physical cues and the use of mostly text-based communication have major implications for how an online course is
35 conducted. In a facilitated model, the instruct or attempts to account for these differences through structured teacher-student a nd student-student interactions. In the first section of this chapter, I track the emergence of online instruction and the development of a facilitated approach to teaching within distance education. The second section is an examination of the theo ries related to online learning and teaching and how they relate to the roles, relationships, and interactions in virtual classrooms. Third, I discuss instructional design and its relationship to the goals and methods of online teaching. Connections between the teaching of anth ropology and the practice of teaching online are scattered throughout this chapter, but the issues surrounding online teaching in anthropology specifically are cons idered more extensively in the following chapter. Distance and Online Education: History and Theory In distance education, studen ts and their instructor are situated in separate locations and communication is enabled through some form of technology (Barron 1998; Moore and Anderson 2003). Other terms, such as distributed educat ion, open education, and flexible learning are sometimes used interchangeably with distance education (Hefzallah 2004). These terms are not synonymous; d istance education is the generic term, and the other terms express subordinate concepts" (Moore and Anderson 2003:xiii). However, online learning is relatively new to the distance education lexicon. Until 1970, distance education institutions were mostly privately-owned and usually referred to as corr espondence schools. These instit utions, and distance education in general, received little attention until the founding of the Open University in the U.K.
36 in 1970 (Ricketts et al. 2000). According to Holmberg (1995), a noted distance education theorist, the Open University marked the beginning of a new era in which the image of distance education in many countries chan ged from one of a possibly estimable but little respected endeavor to one of a pub licly acknowledged type of education (Holmberg 1995:4). In subsequent years, distance education changed considerably and diverged along two different theoretical lines that Saba refers to as "c onceptual synergies" (2003:4). According to Saba, one synergy focuses on st ructural issues and how they affect the process of teaching and learning, and the sec ond synergy is concerned mainly with the relationship between the instru ctor and learner. Although these two synergies are not mutually exclusive; they are generally associated with two different models of teaching in distance education that are ty pically described in economic terms such as large-scale and small-scale (Holmberg 1995) or industria lized and post-indu strialized (Peters and Keegan 1994). An industrial approach to distance educa tion is typically employed in institutions that are dedicated exclusivel y to distance education (Keegan 1993). Courses are usually designed for very large groups of students a nd are developed and delivered by a team of specialists. Distance educati on theorists, such as Otto Peters, Randy Garrison and John Anderson, developed corresponding models of learning that ar e concerned primarily with structural issues (e.g., organi zational structure and the divi sion of labor) and how they affect learning and teaching (Saba 2003). A post-industrial model is commonly associ ated with a facilitated approach to teaching and is usually employed in dual-mode (Holmberg 1995) or mixed
37 institutions (Keegan 1993) in which it is im portant to keep within the framework of traditional education. These types of institutions are the main concern of my research. Distance education theories that favor a sm all-scale approach have been developed by Brje Holmberg, Charles Wedemeyer, a nd Michael Moore (Saba 2003) and focus primarily on student-teacher relationships and interactions. Although some courses in dual-mode institutions are also created for la rge numbers of students and are constructed by teams of specialists, the typical online cour se is taught by an indi vidual instructor and designed for small to moderately-sized classes. The critique of an industrialized model of distance education led to the emergence of a post-industrialized model that deve loped alongside the explosive growth of interactive technology (Saba 2003). As tec hnology enabled widespread use of the Internet, the number of public colleges and universities offe ring online courses also grew. The perception of distance in distance educ ation was transformed in this process and scholars saw the need for a new perspectiv e on the practice of distance teaching. This new perspective on teaching in an online environment was provided by the theory of distributed cognition which was th e source of a dichotom y of learning (Saba 2003:7) in distance education. The first view of learning is based on individual cognitive models that emphasize the role of the indi vidual, and the second view is grounded in a distributed social model that focuses on the role of the group (Rogers and Scaife 1997). Both views of learning subscribe to the idea that cultural and environmental features are important to the process of l earning. The difference between them the first model regards learning as an individual a nd internalized process and th e second, a distributed model, views learning as a socially co-constructed event.
38 The theory of distributed cognition, devel oped by anthropologist Ed Hutchins and his colleagues at the University of Californi a during the mid to late 1980s, was heavily influenced by constructivist epistemo logy and concepts in cognitive anthropology (Rogers and Scaife 1997). Hutchins (2000 1-2 )) proposed that human activity reveals at least three avenues of distribu tion in cognitive processes: (1 ) across members of a social group, (2) through psychological processes that involve coor dination between internal and external environments, and (3) th rough time as perceptions of causation. The importance of Hutchins theory in online education is that interactions with technology and those with other people through the us e of technology are seen as significant knowledge-building activities, the same as the construction of knowledge that takes place in real life. Increasing reference to distance educati on as distributed education within educational institutions refl ects the degree of compatibility between Hutchinss theory and online education. Although the term distr ibuted education has other definitions (see Guthrie 2002; Ricketts et al. 2000), references to distributed learning are usually couched in Hutchins version of distributed cognition. One reason for this is because it effectively blends social constructivist theories of learning with the multiple modes of interactivity that are made possibl e by interactive technology. A distributed approach to teaching is gr ounded in concepts in social cognition and collaborative and participatory learning. In this approach, knowle dge is thought to be distributed among members of a community and learning is understood as the outcome of their interactions (Lave 1988). This view of learning is prevalent in literature that discusses the practice of online teaching. Also prevalent is the id ea of online learning
39 communities. Some educators believe advan ces in technology have made possible a depth of interaction between students that enables the transfor mation of a group of students learning independently into an in teractive community (M urphy 2003). They propose that the creation of a learning comm unity requires group goals that are focused intentionally on a learning outcome (Riel and Polin 2004). At least three types of learning communities have been defined. First, taskbased learning communities are those in which the members know one another but group identity is temporary and connected to a specific task. Second, in knowledgebased learning communities, members may or may not know one another and group identity is connected to th e collection and dissemination of information. Third, members of practice-based learning communities have a particular profession in common and the teaching aim is to expand the members pr ofessional expertise (Riel and Polin 2004:3839). The development of practice-based learning communities is often the focus of literature concerned with teaching online in the social sciences. The theoretical underpinnings of practic e-based learning communities are derived from communities of practice theory and ideas about situated learning that have been advanced by anthropologists Jean Lave and Ettienne Wenger (C uthbert et al. 2002; Hoadley and Pea 2002). According to La ve and Wenger (Lave and Wenger 1991; Wenger 1998) knowledge is co-constructed from the ideas and practices of members of a group and emerges over time from the tensions that arise within the group. Some distance educators propose that the use of collaborative learning projects can both create and exploit the tension that Lave and Wenger describe (Murphy 2003). Supposedly, students learn fr om group experiences in which ill-defined problems
40 (Jonassen 2000) require shared authority and consensus in or der to be resolved (Bruffee 1999). As students establish in dividual roles in the group a nd engage in the process of problem-solving, they must navigate tensions and eventually cooperate in order to accomplish the group goal. This recipe for a learning community is often repeated in literature about teaching on line (e.g., Zieger and Pulic hino 2005; Greene 2005; Murphy 2003). However, Riel and Polin point out while classrooms can approximate communities of practice, the temporary time period and the students lack of choice to participate make it difficult to characterize th em as members of a community of practice (2004:30). Task-based and knowledge-based learning communities are sometimes assigned various other names such as scientific inquiry communities or peer-review communities (Cuthbert et al. 2002:232). In these learning communities, instructors encourage knowledge scaffolding, a con cept drawn from anthropologist Vygotskys idea of a zone of proximal development ( 1978) in which higher mental functions are believed to be internalized through social interactions. In these learning communities, learning takes place when the member/s with more expertise (usually the instructor) assists those who are less skilled. However, little attention is paid to the fact that online learning communities may not be suitable in undergraduate courses th at have triple-digit enrollments and are populated by students with little disciplinary ex perience. In these kinds of courses, ideas in transactional distance theory are useful. According to Moore ( 1989), distance in an online course is a matter of pedagogy rather than geography. Moore theorizes that transactional distance is a measure of the leve ls of structure and dialog in a course that
41 promotes student learning, and is influenced by the degree of autonomy of the individual student. Courses that are de signed to provide in-depth di rections and a high degree of guidance and interaction between instructors and students, and among students themselves, have lower levels of transacti onal distance. Conversely, when dialogue is minimal and students are left guessing about what they should be doing, their sense of distance expands. Problems and Issues It is unclear how many on line undergraduate courses are offered at dual-mode institutions, but it is arguable that they constitute a large por tion of online offerings. It is also unclear how many online courses are de signed around collaborati ve approaches to teaching, or how many are instructor-led or facilitated courses. However, it is possible that many undergraduate courses are of the type that some authors point to as poor examples of online education ( for in stance, see Bruckman 2004; Haythornthwaite and Kazmer 2004; Thwaites 2002; Trias i. Va lls 2002). Levine and Sun (2002) propose that many online courses are poorly designed be cause both educators an d institutions are underprepared. He describes the problem as follows: The response to the new media mirrors past actions: When movies were invented, producers f ilmed plays. With the advent of television, radio actors pe rformed on screen. And when distance learning started happening via the Internet, universities asked faculty to duplicate their courses online [Levine and Sun 2002:5]. In addition to inadequate institutional re sources and instructor preparation, some barriers to teaching and learning in an online setting are remnan ts of distance education in
42 general, but others are a function of the economics and politics of modernity. Although distance education is often thought of as a way to economize, experienced distance educators assert that it does not save money, time, faculty, or staff (Haythornthwaite and Kazmer 2004; Shaw and Young 2003). In addition, budget cuts often hinder the development of new approaches to teachi ng (Levine and Sun 2002), requiring individual instructors to take-up the slack. Finally, online educational cont ent has increasingly become a contested form of e ducational capital, and some edu cators are reluctant to share their work. Intellectual property rights governing the content and design of online courses are in question due to federal copyrig ht law that makes exceptions if the creation is work made for hire (Brent 2005:11). Another problem is that online instruction conflicts in fundamental ways with the traditional academic vision of education as an activity that takes place in a setting where students absorb knowledge directly from a teacher (Levine and Sun 2002). Questions about the quality of distance education course s have prompted many research projects in an attempt to document the difference betw een the two forms of instruction. Although the bulk of studies report no si gnificant difference between th e educational outcomes of distance versus face-to-face instruction (G ubernick and Ebeling 1997; Merisotis and Phipps 1999; Russel 1999; Schulman and Sims 1999), some authors argue that the results are inconclusive (Gold and Maitland 1999). Still, it is difficult for many teachers to dismiss the sense that something important in the learning process is missing in an online environment (Levine and Sun 2002). Nonetheless, the number of online courses offered at public institutions has grown exponentially in recent years (Allen and Seaman 2004). Technology has stretched
43 educational boundaries and create d a need for a new educational paradigm in which role of the instructor and nature of teacher-stude nt relationships are central elements (Murphy 2003). Instructors, Students a nd Online Interactions An online instructor can be a traditi onal teacher, the software designer, the content creator, all of these things, or none of these things (Levine and Sun 2002:6). Assuming that the majority of online educators at dual-mode institutions in the U.S. are at least two of these things a traditional teach er and the content creator -we can examine how an approach to distance teaching connects to the role of the in structor and the design of an online course. Although th e role of a instruct or in an online setting is essentially the same as that of a instruct or in a traditional classroom with regard to disciplinary goals, there are inherent differe nces in how one can strive to achieve those goals in an online environment. Ideally, the major goals of teaching anth ropology should be the same both online and in traditional classrooms -to promot e cultural understanding, challenge long held beliefs, and develop students personal and in tellectual empowerment. In addition, some of the strategies and methods that are used in a traditional classroom can also be used online. For example, I have used a self-e thnography project simila r to the one outlined by Chambers (2004) in an online course, but communication about th e project and peerreview comments were exchanged electronically rather than orally as in Chambers plan. This difference, the shift from oral to written communication, is the primary
44 characteristic of online education that works to define the changing role of the instructor, and often changes the flow of communication as well. Interactivity in text-based communication, such as in online discussions, is stressed in much of the literature co ncerned with online pedagogy, although some research suggests that online discussions fail to engage students in learning (Williams and Pury 2002). According to distributed educat ion theory, interactivity between students, the course content, and their computers, are also important, al though these aspects of interactivity or distributed modes of learning receive comparativel y little attention. Instead, researchers are focused mainly on th e level and quality of interactivity through text, and search for ways that it can be increased or enhanced. Larson (2002) found that student interactivity increased when the instructor was frequently and actively involved in online di scussions. Coomey and Stephenson (2001) also concluded that constant student-teacher interaction contributes to effective learning experiences. In addition, Kurtz, Sagee, a nd Getz-Lengerman (2003) found that frequent feedback and support from the instructor increas es students levels of satisfaction in an online course. Finally, Burge (1994) found th at two instructor be haviors that were identified as being crucial to promoting st udent learning were the ability to provide structure in discussions a nd provide technical assistan ce and feedback in a timely manner. Much of the literature concerned with the quality of online edu cation concentrates on students levels of satisfac tion and attitudes toward learni ng online (Sunal, et al. 2003; Darbyshire 2004). Some edu cators are concerned that on line interaction and student satisfaction are just part of the problem; they suggest that students regard online courses
45 as less important than those that take place in traditional classrooms (Davies 2003). Although online education offers many benefits Davis points out that it tends not to produce learning unless the particip ating students main intenti on is to learn and not just to get the course done (2003:8). However, this is also true in traditional classrooms. Other factors can also affect online learning and interact ivity. Wong and Trinidad (2003) point out that cultural distance is a nother problem in online classes. They explain that cultural distance is an outcome of cultural ideas about learning and behavior that influence a students ability to communicate and perform well in an online environment. For instance, they characteri ze a generation of lear ners in Hong Kong as shy, passive, reactive, inarticulate, non-coll aborative, and timid as a result of enculturation that teaches students to be t ape recorders (Wong and Trinidad 2003:2). They report that the Hong Kong st udents found it difficult to be fully interactive, and they worry that these students will be margina lized in an online environment (2003:4). Cultural distance is likely to be problem for some international and minority students in the U.S, but both cultural differe nces and the learners own co ntext and reality are rarely considered in the design of an on line course (Gobbo et al. 2004:35). Instructional Technology and Course Design In the early 1990s, instructional technology required the skills of an advanced technician, but it has been made easier with the development of course management systems (Hafzallah 2004) such as Blackboard and WebCT. These systems provide a comprehensive package of features that include tools for course authoring and collaboration. Course-authori ng tools supply a framework for the organization of course
46 content and activities in a form that is easy to navigate, and can be used to create pages, add text, graphics, and other media. Course -authoring packages usually include tools to incorporate testing, feedback, and reporting in order to allow instructors to monitor learners' progress (Horton and Horton 2003:170171). Although the full range of course authoring tools can be useful in the design of an online course, collaborative tools are the main tools that are used in facilitated courses. Synchronous tools that can be employed collaboratively include chat rooms, audio and video conferencing, and applications that enable instructors to conduct Web tours. Also, application-sharing tools allow the demonstration and interactive use of software programs, and whiteboards enable multiple users to create, edit, and view graphics and designs. Slide shows and virt ual lectures can also be presented using synchronous tools, but these are not collaborative in nature. Asynchronous tools allow delayed communication and are of greater interest here because they enable the kind of flexibility that is the founda tion of distance education. Although online courses offered at dual-mode in stitutions are usually contained within a typical semester format, flexibility is still an important feature. The ability to engage in delayed communication is often critical for work ing adults, and some au thors argue that it encourages reflexivity since students have more time to think through problems or analyze issues before responding (Palloff a nd Pratt 2001; Smith and Winking-Diaz 2004). Asynchronous tools include e-mail, file-exchange systems and threaded discussion boards. Threaded discussion boards display messages and responses in an organized format that is easy to follow a nd allows users to organize and separate discussions into various topics or subtopics. After an initial post is submitted, responses
47 are displayed as an indented list, and subse quent replies to these responses are indented further, and so on. Blogs are similar to disc ussion boards but are less useful because they do not support threading. The use of these tools in various combin ations offers countless possibilities for online course design. Some theorists consid er instructional desi gn to be a form of engineering, but the cognitive shift in education of the 1960s, and the shift to constructivism in the 1980s and 1990s have rend ered it more of an art than a science (Seel and Dijkstra 2004:11). However, the primary difficulty with connecting instructional design to curriculum developmen t is that how to teach and what to teach are typically separated in the literatur e (Seel and Dijkstra 2004:11). In addition to this pedagogical separation, information about what works in an onlin e course is lacking, or at least is inconclusive. Researchers ha ve compared online instruction to traditional classroom instruction, cognitive, behavioral and objective approaches to learning, and course designs that encourage both active a nd passive learning. The general outcome has been that % of the studies provide positive evidence for the assumably more effective design and 50% do not. (Seel and Dijkstra 2004:19). In terms of course design, online learning settings consist of a number of integrated and interdependent components including the problem space, related cases, information resources, and collaborative tool s (Jonassen et al. 2004: 75-76). The content of the problem space is defined largely by the particular discipline, and can be presented in narrative text files, data files, visual me dia, or a mixture of these. Related cases and information resources can be provided thr ough multiple forms of media such as text documents, audio, video, and Web links. Courses that are designed around practice-
48 based learning communities usually emphasize the use of discussion boards, but those that are designed for task-based learning comm unities often employ a more diverse set of collaborative tools. However, some educators contend that the first step in course design is to identify the users accu rately (Jonassen et al. 2004). In the case of a dual-mode institu tion, the student popula tion of an online undergraduate course is likely to be diverse; many online lear ners are adults with fulltime jobs, but less experienced students who live on campus also take advantage of the convenience of online courses. In addition, the increasing diversity of students in higher education classrooms suggests that online cour ses should be designed with a variety of learning activities that take th ese differences into account. One way that I attempt to account for divers ity and differences in learning styles in my online course is to provide students with multiple assignment options that they can choose from in order to accomplish some of the course goals. Also, online discussions are tiered so that students can choose to res pond to a specific question or problem, or they can introduce related ideas and different view points. Although this approach does not fully exploit the tension that is aimed for in practice-based learning communities, it does engage some of the same elements. Presumably, some sort of knowledge scaffolding occurs as experienced learners exchange id eas and less-experienced learners can either participate or observe. Still, the educati onal outcomes of online interactions and the quality of an online course in general are difficult to assess. The major problem with knowing what constitutes a quality in an online course is that researchers have not yet discovered a way in which quality can be definitively measured. The quality standard against wh ich online courses are measured is usually
49 their traditional classr oom counterparts. Generally, resear ch results show equal or even higher levels of student satisfa ction in an online course (I nman et al. 1999). Although student satisfaction surveys ar e typically used to point to the quality of a course, Darbyshire (2004:79) points out that there is often some doubt as to whether such surveys are capable of addressing the issue of quality, but in many cas es these are all we have in terms of feedback. He argues that student satisfaction is es pecially important in online courses because any dissatisfaction without an appropriate means for affecting the result through feedback quick ly mounts (2004:79). Howe ver, I think th e results of satisfaction surveys in an anthropology course may be mi sleading since a goal of the course should be to challenge students cultural beliefs. Conclusion Many publications that are concerned with the practice of teaching online are focused on the creation and development of learning communities. However, transactional distance theory suggests that online courses can be focused on interactive communication without being considered an online learning community. According to this theory, and many online edu cators, the most important aspect of teaching online is to ensure frequent teacher-student interac tion through multiple modes of communication (Sunal et al. 2003). In the following chapter, I discuss some of the online teaching approaches and methods that anthropologists use. First, I review the emerge nce of technology in teaching anthropology and examine recent publica tions that are concerned with teaching anthropology online. Although it is too early to know if online edu cation in anthropology
50 is a significant trend, th e appearance of discussion s about online teaching in anthropological litera ture suggests there is a grow ing demand for online anthropology courses from both students and institutions.
51 CHAPTER FOUR TEACHING ANTHROPOLOGY ONLINE Although few articles about teaching anthropo logy in an online setting have been published thus far, some intere st in the subject is evident in early 2007. A section in the January issue of Anthropology News (2007) is focused on the uses of technology in teaching, and a section of the journal, Practicing Anthropology (2007) discusses the practice of teaching online. Both of thes e publications introduce an online masters program in applied anthropology at the University of North Texas (UNT). The UNT online program is the first of its kind in the U.S., although the University of Wales at Lampeter (UWL) began offering both bachel ors and masters anthropology programs online in 2000. In addition, the fall semester of 2006 marked the be ginning of an online undergraduate minor program in anthr opology at Oregon State University. The initiation of these programs suggests that the presence of anthropology in online education is building, a lthough its growth appears to be quite slow. Simmons (2007:28) concludes from the results of his informal survey of anthropology department chairs that distance educati on in anthropology has not caugh t on too strongly. The use of computer technology in anth ropology also had a sluggish start, although it has been used extensively in anthropol ogical research since the earl y 1990s. Perhaps the use of technology in teaching anthropology will follow the same trend.
52 The first section of this chapter review s the brief history of technology in the teaching of anthropology. It is only a pa rtial view since many anthropologists use computer technology in their teaching but do not publish articles about their experiences. In this sense, interest in the use of tec hnology in teaching can be lumped together with the larger apparent lack of interest in the pedagogy of anthropology in general; we know that the vast majority of an thropologist teach, but it is no t reflected in anthropological literature. In the second section of this chapter I discuss problems in online education that anthropologists have observed or expect to develop. The final section is a review of online teaching strategies in anthropology and corresponding course designs. Technology and Teaching Anthropology Although anthropologists today use computer technology extensively to analyze research data, its use was met with resistan ce early on. Podolefsky recalls that when he first drafted a paper about the use of computers for processi ng qualitative anthropological field data in 1979, one reviewer simply wrote anthropologis ts are not interested in computers (1997:56). Of course, the re viewer was mistaken, but this example demonstrates how certain topics are sometimes excluded from anthropological publications. The first significant report on th e uses of computer technology in teaching anthropology was a 1993 special issue of the NAPA Bulletin (National Association for the Practice of Anthropology) (Dubinskas and McDonald 1993). The contributing authors of the NAPA i ssue discussed interactive and hypertext software and reported on their experiences with bulletin board communication. There were few educational software programs at the time and none of the authors had taught
53 an anthropology course entirely online. Although mo st of the technological issues that were raised in the NAPA issue have been ove rcome since, some of the implications of technology in education that th e contributing authors discus sed are being addressed by anthropologists today. For example, in the 1993 NAPA issue, Truex argued that the development of technology for educational pur poses is a valuable educational project because it could work to decenter and deconstruct the cu ltural assumptions of power and control implicit in tradit ional educational formats (1993:82). And, in the 2007 Winter issue of Practicing Anthropology Nuez-Janes and Re Cruz (2007), faculty of the online masters program at the University of North Texas, point out that they designed their online course with this project in mind. They note that the view of teachers as bearers of knowledge and students as empt y receptacles of knowledge has neither conceptual nor practical room in an online course (2007:21). Little more was written on the use of technology in teaching after the NAPA publication until the 1997 volume of The Teaching of Anthropology in which Podolefsky (1997) tracked the development of computer use in previous years. His prime example of a pioneer in the effort was J. Jerome Smith, a now-retired professor of applied anthropology at the University of South Florida and the initial de veloper of an online course that I currently teach. Smiths creati on of computerized questions linked to video clips on a laser disc was an i nnovative project in the early 1990s. Podolefsky offered few other examples of the uses of technology in teaching anthr opology, except for the use of e-mail to communicate with students. He reported that some professors found e-mail useful but it was also a problem because it increased their workloads significantly (Podolefsky 1997:57).
54 At least one anthropologist, Mark Warschaur (1998), has conducted an ethnographic study of online teaching, although not of an anthropology course. Instead, he studied an English as a Second Languag e (ESL) writing course that was taught by an instructor who relied on a rigidly structured model of teaching. The students in the course completed their coursework online, but did this in a shared classroom. Nonetheless, Warschaur comes to the same c onclusion that has been made about face-toface teaching the success of an online class, at least in terms of student satisfaction and critical inquiry, depends on the a pproach of the teacher. Problems and Issues Increased instructor workloads and institutional pressures are the main problems in online teaching according to anthropol ogy teachers. Although many people believe online teaching takes less time, Fagan argues the people who believe this are hopelessly out of touch with both thei r students and pedagogical re ality, and are often those anthropologists who want to spend the absolute minimu m time on their teaching (2000:191). Thwaites points out that the longer work hours of teaching online is a function of what he refers to as the online imperative (2002:480). The online imperative, says Thwaites, is the increasing pressure on t eachers to adopt these new technologies and methods (2002:480). The pressure, he asserts, comes from policy decisions that force public universities to think lik e businesses and to conceive of students as consumers. Thwaites sees it as a faulty economic model in which information technology is easily seen as a ready way of providing a greatly expanded and largely automated range of
55 course materials, and even entire courses, without corresponding e xpense on personnel to teach them (2002:480). Although Thwaites sees value in the use of the Web for teaching and admits to using it extensively himself, but mainly to supplement face-to-face interactions. He argues the value of the teacher and even a bad teacher serves this function is minimally that of a focal point which embodies the symbolic networks one is attempting to negotiate (2002:486). He believes that the removal of the teacher figure induces anxiety in students, and compares it to the f eeling we experience when netsurfing -- the feeling that wherever one is, this is not quite it : there is always somewhere else to go, another potentially vitally important link to cl ick on to (2002:486). In 2000, the online imperative, or some thing like it, was at work in the formation of the first online bachelors a nd masters degree program in anthropology at the University of Wales at Lampeter (UWL). According to Trias i.Valls (2002), a faculty member, the online degree programs were developed when the Department of Anthropology was faced with a serious drop in enrollment. At the same time, the distance education department at UWL was able to maintain enrollment and even recruit new students (Trias I Valls 2002:43). This observation prompted faculty at UWL to develop online anthropology programs in order to increase student enrollment. And, student enrollment increased, but the online prog rams resulted in teaching workloads that are at least three times more than usual even with technical staff maintaining the web delivery (Trias i.Valls 2002:46). According to Trias i Valls, these increased workloads are mainly the consequence of text-based communication.
56 Online Teaching Strategies and Course Design Because educational technologies allow i nterpretive flexibility (Brent 2005:4), what teachers believe that it means to teach dict ates whether they put more effort into the development of the online context or in to interactive comm unication. Social constructivist teaching strategies that involve extensive use of asynchronous communication and promote collaborative learni ng are favored in onlin e education in the U.S, at least in graduate course s. These strategies are also featured in the articles about the online graduate courses at UNT. In comparison, online anthropology instructors at institutions outside of the U.S appear to be equally interested in developing distinctive online spaces and accounting for diverse learning styles. The articles published in the 2007 Practicing Anthropology issue, in particular, engage concepts that are prominent in literat ure about online learning. For instance, there is an emphasis on building online community (Nuez-Janes and Alicia Re Cruz 2007:22; Davenport and Henry 2007:14; Wasson 2007:7), instructors are conceived of as facilitators Nuez-Janes and Alicia Re Cruz 2007:21; Davenport and Henry 2007:14), and many of the courses involve collaborat ive learning projects (Wasson 2007:11; Henry and Jordan 2007:16; Davenport and Henry 2007: 14). The importance of the development of reflexivity and studentcentered critical thinking (N uez-Janes and ReCruz), both highly-valued in literature about teachi ng anthropology, are also emphasized. Some of the online courses at UNT are also designed to respond to multiple learning styles and involve a mixture of instructional methods, including discussion boards, audio, embedded graphics, animati on, and electronic readings (Davenport and Henry 2007; Wasson 2007). Still, most of the online courses discussed in the Practicing
57 Anthropology articles were either in the developmen t phase or the first semester of use, so the extent of their success is inconc lusive at the time of this writing. Trias i.Valls (2002) reports that the online anthropology program at UWL has been very successful, mostly due to the subs tantial amount of time and attention that is devoted to communication between instructors and students. However, she is equally interested in the use of interactive visual media, and especially the use of icons. She points out that icons stand for the identity of their owners in commercial use (the AOL messenger icon for instance), and have power to allow entrance into other realms. A similar use of icons in an online anthropology course can help students to identify the different levels of interaction with the ma terial, and can affect how the material is presented, and thus, influence how certain c oncepts and ideas are understood and learned by students (2002:47). However, the time demands of intensiv e online communication leave little time for instructors to tap the full potential of an online learning environment. Trias i.Valls is aware of this problem but believes it is pa rtly an error of focus, arguing that the preoccupation with online communicationtend s to focus our attention too much on how students communicate rather than how students use the material reflexively (2002:49). Ardevol (2002), informed by her thre e years of experience in teaching anthropology online at the Open University of Catalonia, agrees with Trias i Valls. She believes it is the combination of interactions -virtual, material, te xt, and graphic -that encourage the production of anthropological knowledge. Both Ardevol (2002) and Trias i Valls (2002) suggest that th e use of a wider range of medi a creates an engaging context
58 that can produce a sense of familiarity with the subject matter of anthropology. From this perspective, then, facilitation in an on line course involves social, technical, and contextual interactivity. Conclusion None of the anthropologists cited here in suggest that the goals of teaching anthropology should be different in an on line environment. However, the goals of teaching are not discussed explicitly in articles about teaching anthropology online as much as they are in publications concerned with teaching anthropology in general. But, most of the courses that are discussed in th is chapter are designed for graduate students who are familiar with the challenges that anthropological c oncepts present. Much of the literature concerned with teaching online emphasizes the development of learning communities and cite the work of anthropologists Lave and Wenger, but references to their work are absent in literature focused on teaching anthropology online. The UNT faculty remind us that many educators have concerns about hype associated with the idea of online learning communities (Davenport and Henry 2007:12) and they emphasize buildi ng community among students instead. While the development of online l earning communities and collaborative learning projects are reportedly highly successful in graduate courses, they require closer attention and more instructor participation. Thus, they may not be well-suited to heavilypopulated undergraduate courses. For instan ce, the faculty at UNT employ collaborative learning approaches, but limit graduate course s to small enrollments, and capped their initial cohort of students at 15. In contrast enrollments in underg raduate courses at UNT
59 range from 250 to 300 students (Wasson 2007), and it is doubtful that collaborative learning projects are used. In my onlin e undergraduate class of approximately 100 students, I have attempted to employ collaborative learning projects, but have had little success due to the unmanageable number of gr oups that had to be formed, as well as students inexperience w ith this approach. Some anthropologists discourage the use of learning communities altogether. For instance, in a critical afterward to the text, Building Virtual Communities: Learning and Change in Cyberspace Hakken questions the educatio nal value of online learning communities, pointing out that success at showing that a system can be deployed is often mistaken for evidence that it should (2002:361). Although collaborative approaches to online learning may work to di smantle teacher-student power structures, it is possible that both cultural distance (W ong and Trinidad 2003) and the mechanics of group dynamics in virtual forums can work to build new and different power structures. For instance, some educators note that males learners with ready access to the Internet, learners who speak the native language, and those with greater subject matter expertise dominate the conversation (Smith 2005:183). In the following chapter, I describe the methods that I used to incorporate key ideas from the literature reviews into my res earch and data analysis. In particular, the ideas that demonstrate an overlap between strategies in teaching anthropology and teaching online are the primary concern. In this regard, the main drawback is that most of the publications herein are focused on graduate courses, whereas my research produced information regarding undergradua te courses almost exclusively.
60 CHAPTER FIVE RESEARCH METHODS Since online education in anthropology is a little unde rstood topic, my research plan was framed by an exploratory model. In exploratory research, only some of the variables related to the central topic may be known at the onset of the research (LeCompte and Schensul 1999b); others are exp ected to be uncovered. I identified the initial variables of my research throu gh extensive literature reviews and my own observations and experiences as an online anth ropology instructor. This chapter provides a more detailed accounting of the specific research methods I employed to conduct the research, identify new variables, and analyze the results. Since the all of the research data were co llected electronically, the first section of this chapter is a discussion of an anthropological perspectiv e on virtual research and its influence on the implementation of my res earch plan. The second section describes the research design, sample selection, and protecti on of the research pa rticipants. Third, I review the methods of data collection that I employe d, including the designs and purposes of the data collection tools. Finally, I explain the methods of data analysis that guided my interpretation of the research results.
61 Anthropology and Concepts in Virtual Methods The idea of virtual research often invite s discussions about virtual communities and virtual identities. Th ese ideas did not have a strong presence in this research but are indirectly related in some respects. Virtual identity as a psychological concept is not a concern of this research. Certainly, onl ine teachers have virtual identities, but the role of an online teacher in practical terms ha s greater relevance in my research. The idea of virtual communities is de bated among scholars who argue that they do or do not exist. However, anthropologist s point out that this is a polarizing and unproductive argument (Bird and Barber 2002:56-57; Wilson and Peterson 2002:455456). Instead, online interactions are conceive d of as just another mode of interaction between humans who are members of multip le interconnected communities (Wilson and Peterson 2002). Similarly, concepts in virtual learning communities are prolific in literature about online pedagogy, an d are the subject of similar debates. However, the idea of an online learning community is not debated in this research; but instead is viewed as just one of many modes of learni ng that may be more or less effective. Some anthropologists believe that res earch that takes place in virtual environments does not significantly change the focus of the research, or call for a whole new set of tools. Christensen points out: Cyberspace is neither more comple x than physical space nor are the methodological considerations that n eed to be made perplexing beyond reality. They are at the most slightly different because of the type of space they are applied to, and in the end th ey are meant to provide understanding for the same world. [1998:7] Thus, I adapted traditional research tools to fit the virtual space in which they were applied. An important difference in virtual rese arch is the need for the researcher to be
62 familiar with the virtual context of the study (Jacobson 1999). This requirement is typically accomplished through participant obse rvation and the acquisi tion of technical skills that are required to navigate and comm unicate in a specific virtual space. Since I had been teaching and developing online anthr opology courses for nearly five years at the onset of this research, these requirements were fulfilled before the study began. Research Design Exploratory research often begins with questions rather than a theory or hypothesis (LeCompte and Schensul 1999b), and the followi ng three questions guided my research: (1) What is the state of online education in anthropology? (2) What factors support or discourage the development of online educat ion in anthropology? (3) How do we teach anthropology online? The main tools of data collection favored by social scientists in virtual realms are surveys and interviews (Mann and Stewart 2000). Survey research is considered to be the best method available to social scientis ts interested in collecting data from a population that is too large to observe direc tly (Babbie 1990). Thus, I designed an online survey to collect informati on about online anthropology course s and institutional barriers or incentives to online education from a la rge group of anthropology department chairs (see appendix A). Semi-structured interviews are also believe d to be important t ools in exploratory research because they allow the researcher to ask participants to describe items involved in the initial research themes (Weller 1998). This can uncover themes and items that were previously obscured (LeCompte and Schensul 1999b). Therefore, I developed a protocol
63 for semi-structured e-mail interviews with online anthropology teachers (see appendix B). The interview questions were designe d to prompt ideas about online teaching problems, methods, and course de signs that can be found in literature, but they were also designed to reveal other ideas that may not have been known beforehand. Since some issues that were addressed by the research were relevant to both chairs and teachers, overlapping questions were included on both re search instruments, enabling comparisons of shared or contested ideas. The first few weeks of research were used to develop and pre-test the interview and survey questions, to design and post the survey on the Internet, and to compile e-mail contacts for anthropology department chairs The survey of department chairs was posted online and made available for three m onths. Contact with online anthropology teachers began soon thereafter as referrals were provided by department chairs. A significant amount of time (8 m onths) was allowed for e-mail interviews since they can be very time-consuming. Analysis of the res earch proceeded upon the close of the survey of department chairs and con tinued throughout the interviews w ith online instructors. Sample Selection The list of anthropology department chairs, or chairs of multi-disciplinary departments that include anthropology, at four-year and above degree-granting public institutions in the U.S (N=235) was provi ded by The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). This list included addr esses to department websites from which I obtained e-mail addresses for the department ch airs. I entered this information into an Excel spreadsheet that included columns for recording the dates of initial contact and
64 subsequent reminders. Next, I sent an e-mail invitation to all of th e department chairs on the list supplied by NCES to request their par ticipation in the survey (see appendix C). This e-mail invitation also solicited contact information of online instructors who might be willing to become interview participan ts. Initially, I planned to select interview participants according to a single-dimensi on sample design (Arnold 1970) in which participants were to be selected in equal numbers according to a single element. Reportedly, this approach enables comparisons within a small sample. In my research, a course-level (graduate-undergra duate) element was targeted since literature about online education reflects significant differences in teaching strategies and methods between these two. I believed that this design would best reveal diverse approaches to online teaching and course design. However, only one potential interview participant taught a graduate course. Thus, my research invol ved an opportunistic sample of interview participants instead, and all instructors who agreed to participate were included in the study. Protection of Research Subjects Virtual researchers are not bound to provide informed consent by federal regulations, Institutional Review Board Guidelines, or the AAA Code of Ethics (Jacobson 1999:135-136). However, anthropolo gists argue that an thropological ethics apply to virtual environments, although to vary ing degrees. The requirement of informed consent in an online environment depends on th e nature of the specific research project and the context in which the research is done (Jacobson 1999b; Forte 2003). Some cases are not ethically problematic, bu t anthropologists should still be guided by the belief that
65 our first responsibility in c onducting research is to be fair and honest with the people we study; we must never lie to them, invade thei r privacy, or invade their trust. (Bird and Barber 2002:134). In my research, informant confidentiality was a concern because secure communication in an online environment is very difficult, or even impossible, to guarantee. Since the survey was designe d to be accessed anonymously, a special exemption was obtained from the Institutiona l Review Board (IRB) at University of South Florida. Although survey participants were not required to sign an informed consent, other methods of protection were em ployed. The e-mail invitation to department chairs included a link to the survey but domain addresses were blocked when the participant accessed the surve y. In addition, their survey responses were sent over a secure, encrypted connection. The invitations to department chairs al so included a link to a study information sheet (see appendix D) that informed them of the nature of the study and allowed them to decline participation at that point. Survey re spondents could also decline to participate at any point thereafter by simply quitting the su rvey. Still, some survey respondents provided identifying information on the surv ey and this information was removed by hand. Finally, when the survey was disabled, all responses were removed from the server and all related documents were deleted from my computer. Printed copies of results were stored in a locked file. Although contact information for potential interview part icipants was solicited from department chairs, referring chairs were not involved in subsequent e-mail contacts with potential interviewees. Informed consent forms (see appendix E) were provided to
66 interview informants by mail and returned to me by the same method. Interview questions were sent to participants by email after the informed consent was signed and returned. When an interview was completed, identifying information of informants was purged and replaced with case numbers, and th e subsequent document was printed and stored in a locked file. Then, all relate d e-mail communication wa s deleted from my computer files. In addition, participants were able to discontinue the interviews at any time. The delayed nature of online communi cation allowed participants to carefully consider the prudence of their participation and their eventu al responses to questions. Data Collection The operational definition of an online course in this study was borrowed from Allen and Seaman (2004) as a course in whic h at least 80% of the content is delivered online, and in which face-to-face meetings ar e not typically require d. The online survey of anthropology department chairs and onlin e interviews was designed to collect both quantitative and qualitative data, but the protoc ol for the semi-structured interviews with online instructors was designed to gather qual itative data mainly. The primary advantage of online surveys and electronic interviews is that participants can opt out of the study at any time they choose (Christensen 1998) and so me researchers conclude that this choice may improve the truthfulness of particip ants responses (Porr and Ployhart, 2004). The survey respondents in my study were ei ther anthropology department chairs or other department representatives who were designated by the chair. Interview participants were instruct ors who taught online anthr opology courses that fit the definition provided by Allen and Seaman (2004) Since online anth ropology instructors
67 in the U.S. who were willing to participate in e-mail interviews were difficult to find, one teacher who had not yet taught the online co urse she designed and two instructors who taught outside of the U.S. were also included in the study. Survey of Department Chairs The survey was designed to collect both quantitative and qual itative data. My strategy in the design of both the survey and it s related Web site was to be as brief and simple as possible. Brevity in online surveys can avoid participant boredom and simplicity on Web sites can overcome slow connections (Christensen1998). First, I developed a flow chart to guide the construction of the online survey. The first seven questions of the survey were de signed to collect information about current online offerings in anthropology departments, including course types, levels, number of courses, and enrollment estimates. Many of the remaining questions were linked to questions in the unstructured interviews, a nd space was provided for additional comments on most of these questions. These overlapp ing questions inquired into incentives and barriers to online education and institutio nal policies regarding ownership of online courses. The final survey question was also linked to the interviews and was the only open-ended question on the survey. When the survey design was complete, I subscribed to a pay service ( www.surveymonkey.com ) to generate and post the survey online. After pre-testing the survey, I sent e-mail invitations to 235 anthropology department chairs. The e-mail invited recipients to participate in the onlin e survey and included a link to the survey, a link to the Study Information Sheet, and a reque st to foreword my contact information to
68 online teachers in their departments who might be willing to take part in the e-mail interviews. Some of the chairs shared my contact information with online teachers in their departments but others sent the contact information of their online teachers to me and instructed me to contact them directly. Interviews with Online Instructors The interview questions were divided into three major sections. The first set of questions were concerned with teaching met hods and use of course tools, and inquired into teaching problems that the interview pa rticipants had encountered online. The second set of questions asked informants abou t course ownership policies, the incentives or barriers that were in pl ace in their institutions, and incen tives that might motivate them to teach more online anthropology courses. Th e third section was designed to learn more about the conditions that compelled informants to teach online. The final question was the same open-ended question that was posed on the survey What are your thoughts about online education in general, and onlin e anthropology courses in particular? One advantage of e-mail interviews is that there is no need for transcription, but some virtual researchers report more probl ems than advantages. Among these problems are the absence of physical cues, the long period of time that interviews take to complete, and the need for constant clarificatio n (Christensen 1998). Although the e-mail interviews in my research t ook a lot of time, this was only a minor problems compared to the difficulty of locating online teachers who were willing to take part in the interviews. Initially, 43 potential interviewees were referred by department chairs, but only 16 agreed to take part in the research. Of these, six did not return the Informed Consent
69 form or did not answer the interview questions When this list was exhausted, I posted a request for research participants on the Council of Educational Anthropology (CAE) mailist (see appendix F). In response to my post, five more interview participants were recruited into the study. When an instructor ag reed to be interviewed, I sent an Informed Consent form by mail, and then sent the in terview questions by e-mail upon return receipt of the signed form. Interviews took from tw o to six weeks to complete, including followup questions. A total of 15 semi-structured inte rviews were completed at the close of the research. Data Analysis Literature reviews and participant observ ation provided the conceptual framework for analysis of the data. Data analys is was conducted during data collection and continued until all surveys and interviews were completed. I organized and sorted quantitative data on an Excel spreadsheet, a nd organized and coded qualitative data using NVivo, an ethnographic software package. The initial method of both qualitative and quantitative data analysis was deductive. Firs t, numerical data were coded and reduced. Then, qualitative data were subjected to it em-level analysis, an especially useful approach in exploratory rese arch for uncovering new themes or items and revealing the connections between them (LeC ompte and Schensul 1999b). Some of the items of analysis were know n at the onset of the research. These known items of analysis were often included in one or both of the data collection tools, but not always. For instance, since collabora tive learning is empha sized in literature about online pedagogy, but not in anthropological literature, this item was explicitly
70 stated in an interview question. On the ot her hand, anthropologi cal literature often discusses active and hands-on learning. These terms were items of analysis, but since these were ideas that anthropologists ar e likely to be familiar with, they were not included in a question on either data collection tool. Instead, I attempted to prompt research participants to disc uss these items using questions about the teaching strategies they employed or problems they encountered in teaching anthropology online. When access to the survey was disabled, I downloaded the results to an Excel spreadsheet. I converted survey responses regarding online courses into numerical data and calculated the results using the formula ed itor in individual spreadsheet cells. Other data, such as types and levels of online courses, were orga nized into categories and the totals were calculated by hand. Since the survey generator also provided results in percentages for many responses, these result s were validated through crosschecking. Quantitative data provided in interviews were relatively few and these were calculated by hand. Qualitative data collected on the survey were transferred to separate documents according to the questions they addressed. E-mail interviews were converted to individual text documents in preparation for coding and analysis. In the early stage of data analysis, I sorted qualitative data thr ough a process of reduction in which data were simplified and assigned codes according to known themes (or categories) and items (Huberman 1994). The second stage of analysis involved identifying regularities in data that represented new themes or items. Duri ng both stages of analysis, I carefully noted the relationships among and be tween items and themes and created links between them
71 using the tools available in NVivo. Finally, I crosschecked the codes and links for accuracy and duplication, and eliminated irrelevant data. Organization of Research Results I present the results of the research in th e following three chapte rs. Specifically, I discuss the major themes and items that em erged through the data analysis. Since the main aim of exploratory research is to de scribe a topic that is largely unknown, it can generate themes and items that have not ye t been explored. I ndeed, this research produced a description of onlin e education in anthropology. The data analysis also revealed a number of intersecting, overla pping, and conflicting ideas that emerged through the triangulated data. These ideas are discussed throughout the following chapters as I describe the pedagogy and polit ics of online education in anthropology from the perspectives of department chairs and on line anthropology instructors. The first chapter of results is a repor t on the state of on line education in anthropology to the extent that the research results allowed. I present quantitative data chiefly, although relevant qualitativ e data are also included. In particular, an overview of the online courses offered in the Fall 2006 se mester are described according to type, level, subject, and number of students enrolle d. In addition, I describe the online plans of anthropology departments as reported by th e anthropology department chairs, and the incentives or barriers to online education th at were described by both chairs and online instructors. In the second chapter of results, I intr oduce the online instruct ors who participated in the research and relate their motivations for teaching online. In this chapter, the
72 practice of teaching online is characterized as work. This characterization is presented from the perspectives of both department chairs and online instructors, although the perceptions of online instructors dominate th e interpretation of the results since they possess first-hand experience. On line courses are also considered within this context as the products of online teachers labor. The final chapter of results is focuse d primarily on the pedagogy of teaching anthropology online. I describe the role s and responsibilities of online anthropology teachers, and the functions of online communi cation according to the online instructors who participated in the resear ch. In addition, the impressions of department chairs and online instructors regarding the value of online education for departments, chairs, teachers, and students are presented. Moreove r, the structural and pedagogical problems encountered by the online instructors who partic ipated in the research are identified, and the strategies and methods they have devised to address these problems are articulated. Finally, the designs of the online courses taught by the interview participants are described.
73 CHAPTER SIX THE STATE OF ONLINE EDU CATION IN ANTHROPOLOGY This chapter considers the first research question: What is the state of online education in anthropology? The results presented in this chapter are derived from the survey responses of anthropology department chairs (n=84) and the interviews with online anthropology instructors (N =15). Included in this di scussion is an overview of online offerings, plans for future online cour ses, and barriers and incentives that may influence the development of online education in anthropology. In the first section of this chapter, I summarize the online courses reported by both anthropology chairs and instructors, incl uding course levels, subjects, and number of student enrolled. The next se ction includes the plans for fu ture online courses, and is followed by the incentives and accommodations for online education that are provided by departments or institutions. In addition, online instructors describe incentives that would compel them to teach or develop more onlin e courses. Finally, the last section is a discussion of the barriers to online education. Some research participants expressed their opinions on the value of online education as a barrier itself. However, only a few of these opinions are discussed in detail in this chapter sinc e many of their comments are concerned with online pedagogy in particular, and therefore are disc ussed in more detail in chapter eight.
Current Online Offerings Department Chair Survey The view of online anthropology courses refl ected in the survey is informative, but is incomplete in several re spects. First, the rate of re sponse on the survey was fairly low, less than 36 percent, and less than one-thi rd of these respondents reported that their departments offered online cour ses. Thus, the list of courses the survey produced represents only 13 percent of the 235 departme nts targeted in the re search. Additionally, some online courses were not captured by this research since some chairs did not provide information about the courses their department s offered. Other chairs noted that their departments offered too many online courses to list. A total of 2,340 students were enrolled in the 52 online anthropology courses reported on the survey. Student enrollments in these courses ranged from 4 to 300 students. The largest percentage of course s had an enrollment of 25 students, and the vast majority of courses had from 20 to 65 students enrolled (see Fi gure 1 below). 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 41015202225303540506575100200300 Number of Online Courses Number of Students Enrolled Figure 1: Number of Students Enrolled in Online Anthropology Courses Fall 2006 74
The courses listed on the survey are furthe r organized into two separate coursetypes, major and general education courses. Further, they are divi ded into three course levels, upper-level undergraduate, lower-level unde rgraduate, and graduate courses. Five undergraduate courses listed on the survey were not identified by the chairs according to level or type and were theref ore eliminated from this chart. The distribution of the remaining 47 courses is shown in Figure 2 below. 0 5 10 15 20 25 Lower Level Undergrad Upper Level Undergrad Graduate General Education Major Both Major & Gen. Ed. Type not indicated Figure 2: Type and Level of Online Anthropology Courses Fall 2006 As we can see in Figure 2, there were more upper-level undergraduate courses overall, and more anthropology major offerings than any other course type. In most cases, only the titles of courses were provided on the survey since chairs were not asked to categorize the courses they listed according to a subfield. Still, the majority of the courses (40) could be grouped by their tit les as follows: Cultural Anthropology (18), Archaeology (8), Biological/Physical Anthr opology (7), Linguistic Anthropology (2) and General Anthropology (5). The remaining co urses were specialty courses such as Museum Anthropology, Tourism, Fieldwork, an d Applied Anthropology. Interestingly, 75
three of the specialty courses were focused on virtual anthropology, namely, Virtual Museums, Digital Stones, and Anthropology on the Internet. Online Instructor Interviews A total of 24 online courses were taught by 15 interview participants. Student enrollments in their courses ranged from 5 to 200 students. However, more than twothirds of the online instructors reported enrollments between 10 and 35 students. Only one course was a graduate-level course; all others were undergr aduate courses. Similar to the survey responses, the courses reported by the online instructors represented a broad range of topics with the majority (17) di vided as follows: Cultural Anthropology (6), Archaeology (5), General Anthropology (3 ) Biological/Physical (2), Linguistic Anthropology (1). The remaining courses could not be grouped definitively by their titles. Plans for Future Courses Department Chair Survey The plans for online offerings of anthr opology departments were modest compared to the goals of their larger institutions. Mo re than half of the su rvey respondents noted that adding or increasing online courses was an institutional goal, but less then 18 percent reported that their departments had comparab le plans. Consequently, relatively few survey respondents provided specific inform ation about their departments plans for online courses in coming semesters. 76
77 Some chairs reported that their departments plan to offer just one or two online courses in the coming year, but other depa rtments had more extensive plans. For instance, one department planned to offer f our additional online courses in the following semester, two departments expected to o ffer five more courses, and two more departments planned to add six online anth ropology courses. Many introductory or general education courses were planned, but one respondent also noted that his/her department would offer at least three upper-l evel courses in the following semester. Another chair reported that the department faculty have discussed the inevitability of having some graduate anthropology classes that are focused on independent researchgo online in the years coming. Although relatively few chairs provided in formation about their departments online plans, some reported that institutional pressure to increase online offerings was being felt. They believed that their depart ments will be forced by the administration to start developing onlin e courses in the future because t he cost effective nature is too great to ignore. One chair simply noted: The world is flat. Hence, it's inevitable. The comments on the survey indicated that many department chairs were considering how anthropology departments s hould respond to this inevitable turn of events. In particular, they were concerne d with how anthropology should participate in terms of suitable courses. Their suggestions for courses that they believed were, and were not, well-suited to an online envi ronment are shown in Table 1 below.
Table 1: Anthropology Courses Suitabl e and Unsuitable for Online Instruction Suited to an Online Environment Not Suited to an Online Environment Grad Classesstudents whore already trained in some areas of the discipline Cultural anthro courses Anthropology is not, in our collective opinion, well suited to online study disciplines that require critical thinking [courses with] la rge numbers of undergraduates offerings at the introductory level intro courses intro archaeology & intro anthropology undergraduates with little/no training courses that have very specific student learning objectives Physical, linguistic and archaeological courses archaeology classes anthropology courses [that] generally include hands-on work anatomy, osteology, paleontology, archaeology The courses listed as not suited indicat e that all fourfields of anthropology, including archaeology, and phys ical, cultural, and linguist ic anthropology should be ruled-out. Apparently, any type of anthropo logy course is ill-suited to an online setting since all anthropology courses should require critical thinking to some extent. To the contrary, the suited column s uggests that introductory course s may be the best choice. This agrees with the plans of some depart ments to increase the number of introductory courses offerings primarily. However, both Table 1 and the reported plans of 78
79 departments conflict with the actual distribut ion of online courses reported on the survey since more upper-level major courses were listed than any other type. Online Instructor Interviews Online instructors were not asked about thei r plans, but two instructors noted that they were developing graduate online courses for future semesters. Some instructors agreed with the department ch airs that anthropology s participation in the online trend is inevitable, although their outlooks regarding this prospect were more optimistic. Two instructors described the online trend as the wave of the future and another wrote, I think that it has a bright futu re. Another instructor propos ed that the online trend will benefit both the discipline of an thropology and its students. This view of the benefits to depart ments, the discipline of anthropology, and potential students was supported by another on line instructor who pointed out that his online courses provide a si gnificant amount of advert ising and knowledge about anthropology/archaeology to the broader public. He added, I most strongly feel that a very large number of the students taking my online courses would never have otherwise taken an Anthropology course. However, hi s ability to advertise anthropology to a larger audience was hampered by a lack of technology and adequate staff. Incentives and Accommodations Department Chair Survey The selections of incenti ves or accommodations for online education included on the survey were (1) additional time allowa nce (2) supplemental economic compensation
(3) additional administrative or instructiona l support (4) technical support. Additional space was provided for other incentives or ac commodations not listed on the survey, or for other comments on the topic. According to anthropology ch airs, technical support is the single resource most often provided to departments for facilitation of online courses. In fact, t echnical support was reported in nearly all cases since it was of ten paired with other selections. That is, whenever another choice was selected, it was always combined with technical support. Figure 3 below reflects these responses. Technical Su pport Only48% Supplemental Compensation Support 8% Economic and Technical Administra Technical Su tive/instructional and pport 4% 80 Economic, Ad Techical Su ministrative and pport 8% 4% Other No Answer 28% Figure 3: Incentives and Accommodations for Online Education 70.2% Departments that do not offer online courses 29.8% Departments that offer online courses
81 Incentives or accommodations listed in the Other category included small enrollment courses (20 25 students), and f unds for departments to offer more face-toface courses or for faculty research proj ects. While small enrollment courses may motivate individual instructors to teach online, it is arguable that few will be encouraged to accept the increased time demands if the rewa rds are redistributed to the research goals of other faculty or to increasing the nu mber of face-to-face courses. Among the additional comments, two chai rs reported that online courses are always taught as an overload in their depa rtments. They explaine d that faculty are not relieved of another course to teach one online; teaching an online course is added to their usual workload instead. Although assigning online courses as overloads may seem like a burden instead of an incentive, the prac tice appeals to some instructors since it allows them to increase their incomes. Also in the comments, three chairs remarked that their department received no incentives at all. Likewise, none of the chairs selected additional time allowance as an incentive or accommodation that was offered by their department or institution. By comparison, on line instructors most often listed more time as the incentive that they desired most. Online Instructor Interviews Interviewees were asked what incenti ves their institutions or departments provided for teaching online. Also, they were asked to list incentives that might prompt them to teach or develop more online courses. Their answers revealed that institutions or departments rarely provided individual online instructors with substantial incentives. One instructor reported an incentive similar to that listed by some department chairs; he
82 wrote, on-line courses deliver ed to students who are not in residence generate tuition payments that are split between the departments and the college. Professors can build little research funds this way. This instru ctor also noted that their department provided a course development person to help inst ructors develop online courses. Another online instructor reporte d that her department offered th e choice of a stipend equal to teaching a course for a semester, or a course re duction, but only if she agreed to teach the course for at least two semesters. Although many department chai rs indicated that techni cal help was provided in most cases, it appeared to be neither a highly-valued accommodation nor an enticing incentive to the online instructors. Many interview participants offered ideas for incentives that they would fi nd more enticing. The incentives they suggested most often were more time or some sort of support in ot her areas that would free-up their time to focus on online teaching. These incentives took various forms such as, class time down to develop new courses, a TA the previous semester to specifically assist with the creation/preparation, and a way of sharing out other duties that would take into account the hours spent online, For some participants, eliminati ng the overload requirement or being able to substitute online courses for classroom courses in the teaching load were most appealing. The second most often suggested incen tive was more pay, and one informant wanted the right to control the profits for a year. Other interviewees believed that technical equipment (a laptop or home com puter) or some sort of formal recognition would make online teaching more inviting. One participant summed it up this way: just the basics more pay, more help, more recognition, better technology.
83 In some cases, online instructors received fewer incentives than were provided in the past. In some institutions, the reduc tion of incentives for teaching online was a relatively recent turn of events One instructor reported, ear ly on, there was an incentive that you could get development money or rel ease time for creating on-line courses, but now, because so many are developing them, this incentive has for the most part disappeared. Another remarked, the money used to be an incentive as well, but now the department takes the money. As one instructor noted, this re duction in incentives can discourage online teaching because faculty who developed courses several years ago indicate that the incentives we re better in the past and th ey are not enthusiastic about creating more courses. This reversal of incentives, and the apparent disconnect between incentives provided by departments and thos e desired by online instructors may explain why interest in online education in the discipline of anthropology runs counter to the larger online trend. Taking into account the barriers to online education reported by department chairs and online instructors, the future does not look as promising as some instructors believe. Barriers to Online Education Department Chair Survey When survey respondents indicated that th ey did not offer online courses, or did not plan to add to the ones they already offered, the following three reasons for their choices were provided on the survey: (1) insu fficient funding (2) lack of faculty interest or expertise (3) inadequate te chnology. Just as on the previous question, additional space
was provided for department chairs to report it ems not listed on the survey or to add their comments. It was in these comments that concerns about the efficacy of online pedagogy first emerged as a significant th eme of this research. An overwhelming majority of department chairs who reported their departments did not plan to offer or in crease online anthropology courses cited a lack of faculty interest or expertise as the primary cause. Similar to the pattern of responses regarding technical support as an accommoda tion, a lack of faculty interest or expertise was always selected in addition to any ot her choice. The distribution of these responses is reflected in figure 4 below. 35.6% Lack of faculty interest or expertise 3.4% Lack of faculty interest or expertise & inadequate technology 5.1% Lack of faculty interest or expert 84 i & insufficient funding 28.8% No answer 27.1% Other 29.2 % Department that offer online anthropology courses Courses 70.2% Departments that do not offer online anthropology courses Figure 4: Why Departments Do Not Of fer Anthropology Courses Online
85 More than half of the respondents who indicated that their departments did not offer online anthropology courses provide d additional comments, and nearly threequarters of their comments involved concer ns about the quality of online pedagogy, or the value of online courses owing to these co ncerns. They wrote, we think they are a poor way of teaching a field research-based discipline like anthropology, most of us think you can not teach anthropology in a hi gh quality way online, and we are opposed to the pedagogical value of most online an thropology courses. Other reasons for not offering online courses included lack of student interest, a lack of control for accurate assessment, and concern about the alre ady heavy faculty workloads. Concerns about the efficacy of online pedagogy and increasing faculty workloads were reiterated in multiple survey questions Thus, these issues are more thoroughly discussed in following chapters that are more sharply focused on the work and pedagogy of teaching online. The online instructors who were interviewed were also worried about heavy workloads, but the efficacy of online pedagogy was only a minor concern. Online Instructor Interviews The online anthropology instructors who par ticipated in this research noted most often that the increased time demands of online teaching was the main barrier to online education. Instead of poor pedagogy or a lack of interest in online teaching as a barrier, such as noted by department chairs, intervie w participants pointed to technical problems and, more often, the reluctance or even resistance to online e ducation in their departments as barriers.
86 In addition to minor technical problems not ed by several online instructors, one informant pointed out that the problems of in adequate technology and staff are especially problematic in online classes with high enro llments because they are usually populated with adult students having diverse needs. He described the problem as follows: Barriers are the need for the large numb er of live chatrooms to deal with a large number of students who have di fferent work schedules, including both daytime and nighttime chatrooms. The university does not directly supply or subsidize the cost of having the necessary teaching tools (computer, high-speed online service) outside of my office on campus. More than technical problems, interview pa rticipants indicated that reluctance or resistance to online education by faculty and administrative staff was a major barrier they had to overcome. One interviewee argued the only real barrier is the conservatism and sloth of professors. Another instructor de scribed the resistance to online education in her department as a systemic problem: the re were a number of barriers put up by some faculty and some administrato rsit was difficult, and still is difficult, to make these individuals see that students can learn in online courses An interview participant who taught online anthropology courses at multiple institutions wrote about the resistance, or at least the lack of commitment, he had encountered at one institution in particular. His anthropology course was canceled by department staff saying that they didnt think distance education was appropriate for their department. However, he believed the real reason was that online education was considered an experiment to them. He reported that there was ample support for his online course in the Department of Distan ce Education, but the course was blocked by the anthropology department head. He explained,
87 The Dept. of Distance Education offe red the Dept. head all sorts of support; they even offered to pay the in structor (me) to teach the course rather than having the funds go th rough the Anth. Dept. The Anth. chairperson still refused to have distance ed. courses taught through themI find it bizarre that the top Anth. departments across the nation teach online courses, yet our flagship university still has no courses to this day! Conclusion Since exploratory research ge nerates more questions than answers, this analysis highlights inconsistencies in the research result s. These results reveal at least a partial view of the state of online education in an thropology, and also uncover some issues that may enlarge or refine that view upon furthe r investigation. Because online pedagogy and heavy workloads were mentioned numerously in the survey or interview questions, these issues emerged as major themes in the research results. The research results suggest that the nu mber of anthropology departments that offer online courses is fairly low, but the range of subjects offe red is quite broad. Introductory and advanced courses are included, as well as a numb er of specialty courses. Still, the majority of chairs who participated in the research believed that the range of courses suited to an online environment is fairly narrow. These inconsistent results suggest that the menu of online offerings in anthropology is more a matter of happenstance than it is strategic planning. It appears that onli ne offerings in many departments are online versions of the trad itional classroom courses that the online instructors usually teach, or courses in their specialties or those topics that they find compelling, instead of selecting online offe rings according to suitability, student demands, or department needs.
88 Other inconsistencies, or conflicts of interest, existed mainly between anthropology chairs and online instructors. Generally, chairs indicated that their departments provided technologi cal assistance as the main form of accommodation or incentive for online teaching, but online inst ructors already possess technical expertise and do not appear to regard te chnical assistance as an incent ive. Instead, the instructors who participated in this study mainly de sire more money and time (but these are essentially the same thing for many instructor s). However, online teachers usually have even less time since their cour ses are often assigned as an overload. In addition, they would like to encounter less resistance to online education in th eir departments. The majority of the department chairs attributed the absen ce or low number of online courses in their departments to a lack of interest or te chnical expertise among faculty, and to concerns about the efficacy of online pedagogy. However, none of the online instructors que stioned the efficacy of on line pedagogy, and few received incentives for their interest in online teaching or rewards for the technical expertise they possessed. It seems that these differences would need to be resolved if the growth of online education is indeed inevitable in anth ropology departments, and especially if it is to be successful. In the follo wing chapter, I explore these di fferences in more depth since as they are main themes that dominated the research results.
89 CHAPTER SEVEN ANTHROPOLOGY TEACHERS AND THE WORK OF TEACHING ONLINE The online instructors who participated in the study are diverse in their motivations for teaching online, but there are similarities in the conditions of their employment. The nature of their work is both demanding and rewarding, and can be flexible and restrictive at the same time. That is, online teaching can be conducted wherever there is a computer and a reliable Internet connection, but that flexibility can also extend their hours of availability a nd raise the expectations of students. The majority of online instructors inte rviewed in this study indicated that the amount of time invested in online communica tion has major implications for the quality of an online course. Also online courses requi re constant revisions; if online courses are reused repeatedly without being updated, the qual ity of instruction diminishes. This view is also supported in literatu re on online education. In addition, many educators believe that the designation of ownership of online co urses has implications for the quality of instruction and, inevitably, for the future of online education. This chapter discusses these issues from the perspectives of both teachers and department chairs. The first section of this chapter is an introduction to the online instructors who took part in the research, and articulates so me personal and professional reasons for their choices to teach online. In the second section, I present the impressions and beliefs of department chairs and online teachers regardi ng the work involved in teaching online; the
90 perspectives of online instructors are featured largely in this section since they are the workers. Finally, I co nsider online courses as products of labor. Interview Participants Most of the online instructors who participated in th e interviews (N=15) came from institutions throughout the US; only two instructors taught online anthropology courses outside of the US. Three instructors taught at the same uni versity, but all other instructors taught at separate institutions. Although specific identifying information was not collected from interview participants, five of the online teachers volunteered that they were adjuncts. Moreover, many comments in both survey and interview responses support the idea that teachers in non-tenurable positions are more likely to teach online courses. One chair explained that the de pt. just recently decided to have only grad students and fixed term faculty teach (online) be cause the amount they ta ke in salary is so much less than it was when we paid the regular faculty. Some adjuncts or part-time instructors see online teaching as a door to a more secure position. One online instructor desc ribed her position and the opportunities that teaching online afforded this way: When I started to teach on-line I was in a somewhat precarious position at the university. I was a fixed-term fa culty with no guarantee of a job the next year. There was funding for D[istance] E[ducation] teaching, my department chair wanted to explore that area to bring anthropology to the people, and she was looking for someone to try it out. Because I was looking for a way to cement my position here, I volunteered.
91 Another online instructor already had a secu re position as a faculty member, but noted that she did not have much choice in the matter. She explained, my university and department had already decided to push online courses so I fell into it. Often, however, online teaching involves low pay or additional work. Three online instructors who were te nured professors reported th at the online courses they taught were assigned as overloads. Alt hough these conditions do not necessarily result in low-quality courses, it does suggest that on line teachers are subjected to conditions that encourage cutting-corners in teaching. Noneth eless, most of the online instructors who took part in my research app eared to be dedicated to provi ding high-quality courses and were pleased to be teaching online for the many reasons. Motivations for Teaching Online Anthropology teachers have many reasons for wanting to teach online, but the one they most often identified was the flexibility it afforded them. While online education is recognized as a form of distance learning fo r students, it is also a form of mobile teaching for instructors. I think that this aspect of online education is one that is overlooked by departments and institutions, although it is highly-valued by online teachers. The following are just a few of the comments of online instructors that demonstrate this point: It gives me the freedom to stay hom e; or travelespecially during the summer, while still earning a salary, and retaining a momentum, that is often lost over a free semester. I am much more willing to provide a summer online course than a face to face course because I travel to see family during the summer, work on my house, do research and so on.
92 It is a convenient way to teach fr om a remote location...and I can do it while traveling around. I like the flexibility it offers for both myself and the students. I don't have to deal with traveling to work (thus saving gas and not polluting especially in these times of peak oil!), I don't ha ve to deal with office politics (I've never even been to the --campus and I have been teaching there for four years!), and I especially like being able to live anywhere and still teach. In fact, we are moving to Canada in about six months and as long as I have internet access, I can bring my job with me! I also find the flexibility of teaching online very compe lling. I am able to use my time more efficiently since I no longer commut e. In my experience, working from home also lends immediacy to the courses I teach. When a newsworthy event occurs, I can immediately engage students in a conversa tion on the topic via the discussion boards, instead of waiting until the ne xt class meeting such as a tr aditional course dictates. According to the online inst ructors who took part in th e research, second on the list of motivating factors was their ability to connect with diverse students. This sentiment was repeated often in the interviews. One instructor wrote, I am excited about the possibility to engage stude nts in a different format. To be able to have richer discussions and to reach out to students who are not traditionally drawn into anthropology programs. Another instructor was pleased to be able to make an anthropology course available to a number of students who might not otherwise have the opportunity to fit it easily into their schedule. A third teacher spoke to the rewards of working with non-traditional students: I do also like the fact that we get very different types of students taking the on-line course. It really is an issu e of bringing anthropology to people who normally would not have the opportunity. I find working with the nontraditional studentsvery rewarding.
93 Other motivations for online teaching include an interest in anthropology and in the practice of teaching. One teacher wrote, I like keeping my finger in anthropology, and this compels me to continue my reading in diffe rent subject areas. I also like to teach. However, the rewards of online teaching also come at a price, and the cost most often noted by interview particip ants is a feeling of social and professional isolation. One teacher wrote, I do get kind of starved for in tellectual conversation re lated to anthro out here in an isolated area. Two other teacher s noted the same feelings of isolation and advised other online teachers put forth an effort to balance their social lives. They wrote, One final thing I have to mention is that being an online teacher, especially full time, can be a lonely experience and one must have a well balanced social life in order to stay sane! Although I like meeting students from all over the country, this is not direct person to person contact and I do miss the direct social interacti ons with them and my professional colleagues. One must be prepared for this, which is something I don't think is covered too deeply in distance education training. I think that the feeling of isolation will increase as more demands on those people who teach online courses. Sp ending hours a day in front of "your best friend, your computer" does not make for a healthy social life so extra efforts must be made to break away and be with friends/family. This is easier said than done, especially if you have lots of students! However, breaking away from online teaching is not always easy. I find it more difficult to walk away from an online co urse than a traditional class because there is always one more message to answer or one more discussion post to read. In fact, on some days, the real world seems virtual when I finally raise my eyes from the screen. Related to this is an over-availability that can have other consequences. I have learned that when I am constantly online and availabl e to students early in a semester, they come
94 to expect immediate responses all semester l ong. They then become extremely anxious if am not always able to respond immediatel y. One online instructor described his frustration with students expe ctations that he would be available around the clock: Over-anxious students who seem to e xpect immediate feedback and start writing the dean if they don't hear from me right away is another frustration. Even worse is when they complain to the other students. I let them know that I am not sitting all day 24-7 at my computer and to expect delays sometimes if I am traveling or do not have access to a computer. I still get anxious online students. There are ways to manage the unrealistic expectations of students, and these are discussed in the following chapter, but the ex pectations of institutions are more difficult to address. The practice of assigning online courses as an overload, an a dded responsibility rather than a significant portion of a teachers regular worklo ad, reflects the persistent institutional perception that teaching online is less demanding than traditional classroom courses. However, this perception was di sputed by the majority of both teachers and department chairs in my study. Although t eaching as a practice involves pedagogy and methodology, online teaching as work is mo re tightly linked with the political economies of time and money. Online Teaching as Work The increased time demands of online teaching were discussed by numerous survey and interview participants. Several department chairs noted that there is an institutional perception that onl ine teaching is easy, or at leas t requires little expertise, and some online instructors ag reed. One teacher explaine d, at first its a lot of
95 worksetting up the site. But once that is done, its smooth sailing. You can even reuse the same site with minor changes year af ter year. Another teacher believed that developing an online course was the bulk of the work, and that conducting the course required little teaching experience. He assert ed, online courses take work to set up, but once running, can usually be handled by a TA or an adjunct. Only one survey respondent believed that online courses can save everyone tremendous amounts of travel resources and time. Conversely, the majority of chairs and online teachers disagreed with this assessment. One department chair argued that the general faculty impression is that on-line courses actually require more work in terms of preparation and in terms of interaction with students. Department ch airs argued that the costs greatly exceed the benefits, and worse, they believe faculty will be the ones to pay the price. One chair wrote, it is far more expensive of time, money, and faculty resources than was originally considered, and universities still try to do it on the cheap or on the backs of the faculty. Another chair remarked th at institutional pressure to offer online courses was just a way to speed up, a way of getting more work out of professors without hiring more people. Most of the online instructor s who participated in the re search agreed that online teaching is very time-consuming. One online instructor pointed out that it takes a lot of time if its done right. She explained, They are far more time-consuming for an instructor than a regular, oncampus course. If done well and done right, there need to be many mechanisms for class interaction and direct feedback (monitored chat rooms, email and response, etc.). All of this, plus the preparation of the
96 on-line materials, can be far more difficult and time-consuming than 3 lectures a week. Disputing the belief that online cour ses can save money and time can be frustrating, but the maneuvers some institutions use to turn this belief into a fact are disturbing. First, low pay for TAs and adjuncts maximizes profits, and the assignment of online courses as overloads avoids the need to hire more faculty. When I asked one online instructor what motivated her to teach online, she replied, Not the pay, thats for sure. Some methods institutions use to improve their bottom line are less obvious, but seem more devious. One online instructor discussed the practice at her institution of increasing enrollments without warning or advance, and also without increasing teacher pay. Another teacher described other ways that savings were sometimes hidden. He wrote, while I get paid the same amount to teach a summer course as one during a regular semester, teaching assi stants only get half (and with no tuition benefits). So effectively I must do more work myself, wh ile the university saves on TA salaries. Although the majority of online instruct ors I interviewed volunteered to teach online, at least one faculty member felt pressured into teaching online. She explained that her department indicated that faulty coul d choose to teach an online course as part of their regular workload, but if they did not, it would probably be a ssigned as an overload course. The following is her description of how online education was orchestrated in her department: Online and face to face teaching are c onceptually and institutionally so divided that it feels as if you have to choose one or the other. This also happens because the development of online courses has taken place without hiring additional faculty. So, the same faculty that previously taught face to face courses now are be ing asked to take over the online
97 courses. Often faculty have to make a choice in order not to increase their already full teaching loads. In addition to the savings that institu tions can accumulate through low pay and high expectations, the development of new online courses can generate additional revenue. Many interview participants repo rted that they rece ived little or no compensation for the courses they designed, although designing a new course is a major undertaking. One teacher described how this happened to him: I was asked to take over teaching In troduction to Physical Anthropology and Archaeology from another instructor Since this course was not new in the department, I received no fundi ng whatsoever for developing the course Other tactics seem more exploitive. Fo r instance, one teacher suspected that the positions of some online instructors are intentionally designed to be precarious so that institutions could capitalize on the fruits of their labor. At he r institution, distance faculty work on a year to year contract so after any year, they can be terminated but their work remains. Once the course is developed, the uni versity can then get someone else who they can pay even less to administer the class. This appropriation of the work of online teachers has been a controversial subject in academic circles since the inception of online education. The arguments surrounding course ownership were considered in my study because literature suggests that the designation of ownership may strengthen opposition to online education in some departments, and can discourage some teachers from teaching online. However, my research elicited little evidence to suppor t these ideas. Alt hough numerous online instructors offered opinions on who should own the rights to online courses, they did not
98 indicate that they viewed it as a trouble some problem. Department chairs rarely commented on the issue. Online Courses as Products of Labor Some scholars suggest that questions about the ownership of online courses, and related issues surrounding inte llectual property rights, are si gnificant barriers to the development of online education, although th is connection was not evident in my research. To the contrary, a comparative lack of interest was apparent. This may be due to the fact that the question on the survey wa s framed as a yes or no question for the sake of brevity. Still, additional space was provided for comments, just as on other survey questions, but there were fewer commen ts on the issue of course ownership than any other topic I introduced on the survey. This question was also posed to online instructors, but they were also asked to describe their understanding of the policy. Therefore, they had more to say on the subjec t, although none indicated that the nature of the policy affected their willingness to teach online. Forty-two percent of department chairs who completed the survey indicated that their institution had an official course owne rship policy, 15 percent reported that their institution had none, and the remaining 43 percent either did not know or did not answer the question. Although I did not ask about the particular s of the policies at their institutions, three department chairs offered explanations. One chair believed that online courses were the property of the department. Another thought they were the property of individual teachers, but the third chair had a sort of dont ask, dont tell view of the
99 issue. He wrote, it seems vague which is why I have not requested institutional support. The majority of interview participants thought they understood the policies of their institutions and eight of the instructor s attempted to explain them. The remaining seven interviewees did not know the policies that governed on line courses, but most of these instructors offered their ideas on what they believed th e policies should be. Four interview participants believed that online courses belonged to the teachers. One of these instructors wrote, We produced it, it is ou r intellectual propert y, and the course goes with us. Another asked the question of his institution and reported, they told me that I have ownership of the courses and that I can teach them where ever I wish. The other two online instructors believed that their ins titutions owned exclusive rights to all online work, and one described it as part of a larger exploitative plan: I believe the policy of ownership of online courses here is that the university owns the course. I actually find this quite appalling because I think it directly relates to how the university treats strictly DE (online) faculty. Faculty hired for DE generally do not get tenure track positions (and are typically paid less). Four other interviewees desc ribed policies that were so mewhere in-between. That is, they believed their institutions distinguished between the course shell and the course content or materials. Two online instruct ors indicated that they own the course materials, but not the shell, and asserted that they are allowed to adapt or re use their online courses at other institutions: The third teacher wa s sure; he wrote, The university owns the course but I own the content. We have a c ontract. The fourth teacher admitted his confusion: I understand that they own the cour se and can present it as often as they like.
100 However, I own the intellectual property that went into making it (as you can see, I don't entirely understand how it works). The distinction between the course conten t and the course shell is difficult to explain, at least as it relates to all online courses. A course shell can be skeletal, or extensive. For instance, in my online courses, the course shells are mostly collections of online tools that have been enabled. I en able a discussion boar d, but the topics of discussion (the content) are cr eated and added weekly. My in terpretation of this is that the board itself is part of the course shell, but the discussions ar e part of the course content. Also, my course shell contains icons that I created to link to writing assignments, but the writing assignments (the content) change each semester. Although most of the online teachers were not sure about the policies of their institutions, they had strong opinions about who should and shoul d not control their online creations. They believe that other instructors should not use their online courses since they can be very elaborate creations. One teacher asserted, I would certainly consider it personal infringement if the online course sites/materials that I have created were used by another instructor without my permission. Another te acher believed it was a matter of ethics; it was the responsibility of all teachers to respect the work of others. He wrote, The person taking over should not ha ve access to the courses I spent months preparing and using. To me, th at is plain academic laziness. The new instructor should develop their own courses because we are all biased to some degree in what we wa nt to include or not include The lack of opinions on the issue of c ourse ownership on the department chair survey is disconcerting, even t hough it is likely owing to the fact that the majority of
101 departments represented in the survey do not offer online courses. Considering the large number of negative comments regarding online pedagogy in survey responses, it may be that the question of ownership is thought of as a moot point. That is, if online courses are perceived to have very little pedagogical valu e, then ownership is not a concern. Still, it is arguable that the rationale for institutiona l ownership of online courses can bleed-over into traditional education since some traditi onal courses also exist in a shell form. For instance, faculty at the Anthropology Depart ment at the University of South Florida created a manual of instruction for teaching an introductory course, including selected exercises and a video guide. Justification for institutional ownership would not have to be stretched far to apply to this manual, espe cially since university property was used in its construction. Conclusion The majority of the research participan ts agreed that teaching online courses requires substantial time and labor, more than is required for their traditional classroom counterparts. Some department chairs worry that institutions will pressure anthropology departments to offer online courses, and that faculty will be exploited. However, all but one of the online instructors w ho participated in my research taught online voluntarily. Although it appears that few incentives for teaching online are provided by anthropology departments or their larger institutions, the online instructors who participated in my study are motivated by the opportunity to reach out to non-traditional students, potential employment opportunities that may ensue, and the flexibility that online teaching affords. However, the amount of work that online teaching requires,
102 departmental resistance to online education, and the lack of financial rewards can be discouraging. None of the research participants expressed serious concerns about the designation of ownership of onlin e courses. But, the fact th at many participants did not know or understand the policies of their institutions suggests th at they may be harboring assumptions about ownership based on intellectual property as it relates to traditional classroom teaching. The divisi on between course content and course shells that some online instructors discussed is worthy of further investigati on. In the case that only the course shell is institutionally owned, it may be th at little of value is appropriated. In the case that both the shell and the course c ontent is considered the property of the institution, the extent of the acquisition is more substantial. I expected to find that some anthropology departments do not offer online courses because faculty believe online pedagogy to be inferior, but this perception was actually more prevalent than I anticipated. It was re iterated many times in responses to multiple questions on the department chair survey. By contrast, the online instructors who took part in the interviews had few concerns about the efficacy of online pedagogy. Although their opinions may be biased on their own beha lf in terms of job security, the following chapter demonstrates that they have devoted substantial effort to ensuring the quality of education in their on line courses.
103 CHAPTER EIGHT ONLINE PEDAGOGY AND COURSE DESIGN This chapter is focused on the research results related to the final research question: How do we teach anthropology online? Many of the anthropology chairs who participated in the research pointed out problems in online instru ction and voiced their concerns regarding the efficacy of onlin e pedagogy. The large number of these comments may be a measure of the equally la rge number departments represented on the survey that did not offer online courses. St ill, by comparison, the online instructors had few concerns about online pedagogy, although the specific teaching problems, methods, and course designs they discussed were connected to some of the pedagogical concerns raised by the department chairs. The first section of this chapter is a discussion of online pedagogy and the value of online education from the perspectives of department chairs and online instructors. Online communication is also introduced in this section since it is th e main characteristic by which many of the online teachers measured the pedagogical value of their online courses. In the second section, the role of the online anthropology teacher is explored, and online communication, as the defining characte ristic of online courses, is examined. Third, I discuss two major groups of onlin e problems that the online instructors identified, followed by some of the strategies and methods that the interview participants
104 have devised to address them. Finally, online course design is discussed using the examples provided by the online teachers who took part in the research. Pedagogy and the Value of Online Education Many department chairs questioned the efficacy of online pedagogy. Although their concerns about online pedagogy were sprinkled throughout survey questions, the majority of these comments were included in answers to the single open-ended question on the survey: What are your thoughts about online education in general, and about online anthropology courses in particular? Over 90 percent of the survey respondents shared their impressions about online educat ion in response to this question, and more than half of these comments expressed negati ve views of online pedagogy. Despite these negative views, many department chairs sa w the value in online education for both anthropology departments and nontraditional students. The online anthropology instructors who par ticipated in the research shared some of the same concerns, and agreed with ch airs about the value of online education. However, they did not share the view that onl ine pedagogy or online educ ation is inferior. In fact, they proposed that onl ine education is superior, or at least has some advantages over traditional education. Al so their views about nontraditi onal students were more specific, and often very complimentary. Department Chair Survey Many department chairs who opposed on line education in anthropology listed problems that impact both teachers and stude nts. They pointed out that it removes
105 critical social elements, lacks academic rigor, is questionable pedagogy, and is otherwise not well-s uited to anthropology. Chairs who were supportive of online education usually gave reasons for their support that benefite d institutions mostly. For instance, online courses can sign ificantly increase the reach of a university, are a real money-maker for the university, and ar e useful for reaching a large number of undergraduates. The combination of problem s and benefits create a dilemma for some survey respondents. One chair pointed out, From an institutional perspective, it is something we have to get involved in for a wide variety of reasons (lack of classroom space, student demand, etc). As such, I support our movement into this area as a department, which will place us among a relatively few units engaged in this activity .personally and professionally I feel that we will be providing our students with a second-rate l earning experience at best. Instead of online pedagogy itself being poor, some department chairs suggest that faculty or online teachers are the problem with poor-quality online instruction. One chair took the position that online courses can be easier to teach and, thus, encourage professional laziness. Another chair pointed ou t that the problem is more than just the laziness of some instructors; instead, it is embedded in economics and the tradition of teaching: There is very little enthusiasm for such courses among tenure-track facultyI suspect the reserv ations are in part inertia that we are used to how we teach in a classroom setting and changing that has high costs compared to expected payoffs in pa rt an opposition to the idea that the student doesnt need to see and hear from the professor directly, and concern about how an on-line course w ould work (what does a course look like if the professor doesnt lecture). The majority of department chairs ag reed that the greatest value of online education is its ability to serve nontradit ional students. This was the most often
106 repeated observation on the survey, but this assignment of value was sometimes revoked in the same breath. One chair wrote, onlin e education has a role to play in allowing people who live in remote communities to obtai n advanced degrees in some fields. In general, I do not think it is an appropriate way to teach anthropology. Another chair was dubious about their value, except for those wh o are unable to take in-person classes. These views reflect two main themes that dom inated the survey comments: the belief that online pedagogy is inferior, and the idea that onl ine educations greatest value is to serve non-traditional students. Thes e themes were repeated ofte n. Although the link between them was not usually stated explicitly, th e implied connections were clear. Online Instructor Interviews Many of the online instruct ors who participated in interviews agreed with department chairs regarding the value of online education for both departments and nontraditional students. However, their assignment of value to nontraditional students was not paired with ideas about questionable pe dagogy such as it was in the survey of department chairs. In fact, some online inst ructors proposed that on line education can be superior to traditional inst ruction in some ways. The majority of online instructors also i ndicated that the most important value of online courses is the educational opportunities it provides non-traditional students. They asserted that online education is wonderf ul for adult learners and those who do not have access to regular face to face classes, and online courses are an excellent way for students who have other obligations or scheduling conflicts to take classes that they would otherwise not have been able to take.
107 Some online instructors also agreed with department chairs in that online courses can not, or should not replace traditional cl assroom experiences. They believed that online instruction is no real substitute for in-class teacher-student and student-student interaction. Also, online learning can not compare with the kind of cooperative learning that happens in a good classroom, wh ere through debate students probe an issue deeply, getting engaged and involved and challe nged. Some even suggested that certain limitations to enrollment in online cour ses should be considered by anthropology departments. One instructor proposed that s tudents should [not] be allowed to take more than 25% of their course work as online cour ses, and certain course s should be required as face-to-face. Another point of agreemen t between online teachers and department chairs was the belief that some problems in online educa tion can be attributed to faculty or online teachers. One online instructor pointed out that online courses are not good or bad in themselves, but there is a lot of room for sloppy work and poor communication. However, none of the online instructors who participated in the study described online pedagogy itself as poor or inferior. Some of the online teachers admitted to having negative opinions about online pedagogy initially, but reported that their opinions changed after they gained more knowledge and experience. One online instruct or wrote: Before I started thinking about teaching online I had a very negative perspectiv e about it. As I read and learned more about teaching online I became less skeptical . Another teacher admitted that he worried that on-line students would not test out as well but discovered that after the drop period ended there was no difference.
108 Online pedagogy was viewed more favor ably among online instructors than among department chairs, and some online teach ers even argued that online courses are actually superior to traditional classes in some ways. The instructor s reported that they actually have much more communication with the students than in traditionalcourses, and students actually s eem to be more involved and much less passive than in regular classes. One online instructor believed that a lack of physicality in his course led to more honest and d ynamic discussions, and enhanced students learning experiences. He wrote, I feel that for the two courses I offe r that students learn as much if not more than in a regular classroom students in live chatrooms, where only their names are showing, are more honest and outspoken than even in smaller classrooms. I think this is very important for communication and learning in the social sciences. In addition, some online instructors felt that they knew more about their students and the extent of their comprehension of course materials in an online context. One thing that is very interesting about on-line education is that I actually feel that I know more about what th e students actually think about things than I do in a traditional class. While in the traditional class I can tell if they seem to understand or are engage d with the material by seeing their reactions and body language, I rea lly dont know much beyond that. Indeed, the majority of the online teache rs in this study re ported that online communication was the key to success in their online courses. In the following section, online communication is considered as a defining characteristic in the role of an online teacher. Online Communication and the Roles of Teachers The type of online communication that dominates in an online course (asynchronous or synchronous) is the defining factor that di stinguishes between types of
109 online courses (facilitated or in structor-led) and also defines the roles of teachers. The idea of a facilitated approach to teaching implies at least tw o things. First, the course content is delivered through a variety of modes (i,e. intera ctivity with both course materials and other people in an online set ting), consistent with a distributed view of learning. Second, learning is facilitated th rough interactive communication between the teacher and student, and also among students themselves. This is in contrast to online courses that rely on one-way co mmunication through streamed lect ures or videos. In this study, all but one of the online teachers employe d a facilitated approa ch to teaching. One teacher, in particular, found a facili tated approach to teaching refreshing, describing her role as a guide on the side. She wrote, I very much enjoyed being the guide on the side, which is much, much different than how I do things in f ace to face settings where I mainly lecture. Both methods have been highly successful with the same course, but I will say, it made things pretty relaxing to be the one to nudge people towards information rather than dum ping a great deal of information on them in a lecture hall Other teachers were not as comfortable in a teacher-guide role, and missed their place as a lecturer at the front of a traditional classroom. One inst ructor wrote, there are no lectures in an online class. One of the core components of classroom teaching is giving lectures. Lots of time is dedicated to prepar ing lectures. In an on line situation, there is no opportunity to give a lecture. Some instructors indicate d that the nature of online communication also influenced their perceptions about students. One noted that emails have tones which can contribute to certain pe rceptions about students. A second believed an online
110 environment was impersonal and the sense of remoteness reduced his level of investment in his students performance. He wrote: I feel like I have less responsibility/ accountability to my students. It may sound unpleasant, but in an online environment I dont get to know my students personally. Therefore, I am less interested in seeing them improve or perform better. When I see a student on a regular basis, I form a personal bond with them that ma kes me sympathetic, interested, involved, etc. The online relationshi p is more like a name on a screen. Another instructor, who had not yet taught he r online course, feared that some students could be forgotten or left out. She noted, som e students tend to be rather silent in an online environment. Although this also happens in a face to face setting, it is easier for students who prefer to be silent to be for gotten in an online setting by other students and even by the instructor. According to the online instructors, on line communication can be both a problem and a solution. Online communication can be isolating for some stude nts, but it can also be the mechanism that keeps students socia lly connected. Online discussion boards, in particular, helped some instructors to c ounter the sense of al oneness that distance students can experience. One teacher pointed out that online communication is a way, first of all, to reach students who would otherwise find themselves quite alone. She asserted that the role of an online teacher is to recreate this interaction and provide students with the contact that they need and want. Problems in Online Teaching The interview participants discussed two main types of problems in online teaching. One type of problem involved imparting anthropological concepts and
111 assessing student comprehension in an on line environment, and the other involved structural or technical issues I also have experienced both types of problems in my online courses. In particular, I was inte rested in learning ab out the problems other teachers encountered in imparting anthropological concepts in an online setting since it had been a challenge for me. Although none of the interviewees described problems exactly like the ones I have encountered, theirs were similar to mine in that all of the problems in imparting anthropological concepts in an online context seem to stem from the lack of physical cues and conversational oppo rtunities. Imparting Anthropological Concepts It is difficult to gauge students reactions when they feel challenged in an online context, and even when reactions are evident, text-based communication is a cumbersome way to address them. In my online courses, some students post lengthy oppositional opinions on discussion boards when they are introduced to what Breitborde (1997:41) describes as new unprecedented notions of comm unity thatmake the world in a very real sense a more complicated, difficu lt, and troubled place to live in than would otherwise be the case. The following quotes are two such examples from students in response to reading the American Anthropological Associations Statement on Race. Although the quotes are lengthy, they are only short excerpts from much larger compositions. I think different races do have diffe ring talents and abilities, although I understand the reasoning behind trying to get people to believe they dont (in a perfect world we all would celeb rate each others uniqueness, but as things are at present, differences are used by many to promote hatred). If the different races didnt have differe nt capabilities, how does one explain
112 the number of superb black athletes in college and professional sports and the Olympics in relation to their pr oportion in the popula tion? Im quite certain other examples exist, but this one will suffice to illustrate that the different races are not just differe nt in physical appearance alone. In order to gather my apparently scat tered arguments, I want to make clear that I do not believe culture defines r ace, rather I believe it is the opposite. Be they 6% or no, the differences that are physical between races, clearly distinguish them. In the interest of brevity, I will again focus only on whites & blacks. Who can deny rhythm? How many Caucasians can you name with rhythm? How many Caucas ians can you name with rhythm or the ability to keep time to beats and me lodies in music? On the converse, how many Africans can you name th at play chess or tennis? Typically, posts such as these elicit one of three types of responses from other students in the course. Eith er contentious interactions among students ensue, or conspicuous silence descends, or the disa greements evolve into productive learning experiences as students come to terms with their own ethnocentric ideas. The type of response that occurs seems to depend on how st udents perceive the level of assertiveness, or even aggression, of the offending poster in previous discussions. Although these reactions may present teaching opportunities in a traditional classroom, they are more difficult to manufacture in an online setti ng. Lacking the opportunity for immediate conversational interactions, a teachers attempts to fac ilitate or guide online discussion can suffer from time lag and are often lost to students because they are buried among hundreds of other posts. Although interview participants did not specifically discus s the problem of challenging students beliefs, they did point to the problem of presenting complex anthropological concepts in an online contex t. One online instructor pointed out that anthropology courses are especi ally challenging in an onlin e setting when discussing concepts, because they don t have the opportunity to get immediate clarification by
113 engaging in a short conversational exchange. Another teacher wrote, I think online anthropology courses are especially challenging, more so than a math or science class. Anthro requires less rote memorization and more discussion of abstract concepts. When I asked this teacher if he m eant that it is especially challenging to teachers, or to students, and he replied: I meant that anthro is especially challenging for students in an online setting when discussing concepts, becau se they dont have the opportunity to get immediate clarification by engaging in short conversational exchange. Now that you mention it, putting those abstract concepts into an online context is also very challenging. It ta kes a lot of preparation to develop a visual or text based explanation of concepts that can be easily understood by students who have no prior experience in social science. A related problem is the lack of immedi ate feedback and visual cues that can leave a teacher guessing about what student s comprehend. One teacher remarked: as opposed to teaching anthropology in a non-on-line environment, I think the hardest aspect is the lack of immediate feedback as to whether what I am trying to get across is actually being understood. Another instructor described how the pr oblem affected her as a teacher: I cannot tell whether or not they are getting a certain concept or whether they are interpreting it the way it was in tended, etc. So it is hard to really know how to adjust what I am telling them through the text to make it more clear. It seems they have one chance to understand it whereas in a class a student can just raise their ha nd if something is unclear and we can clarify it right then and there. Structural Problems The second type of online teaching pr oblem involves technological limitations and limitations that are a result of an ab sence of physicality. Several interview
114 participants discussed problems involving academic dishonesty that they had not encountered in traditional classrooms. One teacher pointed to the cheating issue in nonproctored exams and another described cheatin g as part of a larger sense of a loss of control in online classrooms. I can see them in a classroom taking a test. I can pass an attendance sheet around to know if someone is there or not. In an online setting, it's very difficult to know if they really did encounter browser problems that caused the test to crash. It's nearly impo ssible to know if they are using their books and atlases while they are taking the exam. It's the loss of control in a completely online course, such as mine is, that is difficult to adjust to. A loss of control was related to anot her technical problem discussed by one instructor. He pointed out, student training is apparently not mandatory, so every semester there are students who have difficulties attaching and accessing documents, which sets them up for poor grades due to lateness and missed assignments. This lack of students technical skills was a major problem in the first semester I taught an online course, but I discovered that many technical difficulties coul d be avoided with course management strategies, especially if they are deployed early on. Teaching Strategies and Methods Although questions about teaching probl ems and teaching strategies were disconnected in the interviews, connections em erged through the process of data analysis as they were linked with possible solutions For instance, the problem of students inadequate technical skills was treated by so me online teachers with course management techniques and the provision of clear course guidelines. The problem of imparting anthropological concepts in an online e nvironment was addressed through the use of
115 discussion boards. Although not framed as a problem, keeping students engaged in the course was a major goal of many of the onlin e instructors. Thus, they offered many techniques for promoting and maintaining student engagement. Anthropological Concepts Since literature concerned with teachi ng anthropology frequently describes the effectiveness of active, hands-on approach es to imparting anthropological concepts, I looked for examples of these strategies and methods in informants responses. However, only one teacher described assignments geared to active learning. He wrote, I get them into the field. Since they are mostly on their asses at home, I want to expose them to other environments. I often require ethnographic research projects or museum visits as part of the course. This allows them to see anth ropology in action. Because a collaborative approach is seldom mentioned in anthropological literature, but is prevalent in literature a bout online teaching, I explicitly asked interview participants if they employe d collaborative learning project s, and nearly all responded that they did not. However, one teacher re marked, Id be willing to try collaborative work but I havent yet figured out how to do it. Another teacher desc ribed the work that took place on discussion boards in her course as 'pseudo-collaboration in the sense that individual students posted res ponses to discussion board questions, but everyone could learn as a whole from these responses. It is important to note that many inte rviewees described extensive use of discussion boards, and many of their descriptions of the learning that took place fit descriptions of collaborative learning that are typically found in literature on online
116 pedagogy. One online instructor wrote, students who would never communicate otherwise are able to talk in the student foru m, compare ideas, share materials, ask each other questions and help one another. A nother informant remarked, the discussion boards are a very important component of the coursestudents are learning from each other in this component and I use it as a way to direct students to reach certain conclusions for themselves. Thus, it is arguable that the impr essions of interview participants regarding the ab sence of collaborative learni ng in their online courses are more a matter of differences in definitions of collaboration th an they are differing approaches to online teaching. Much as the discussion boards were used to impart anthropological concepts, they were also attributed with creating social cohesion among st udents. Although none of the teachers described their class of students as an online learning community or discussed building community in their online courses, so me of the interactions they described can be considered fairly intense, and even intim ate, social interactions. For instance, one teacher wrote, I found students willing to post some very interesting and often candid experiences, including marital problems, child abuse experiences, the poverty of their youth, gang activities, growing up in dysfunctio nal families, experiencing prejudice. Another teacher compared a lecture model of teaching typically used in face-to-face classrooms to online discussions and argued th at online discussions were more effective in promoting student reflexivity: The discussion boards were great. They allowed me to get answers out of students that I don't get during lecture, even though I ask a number of questions during lecture. I'm not su re what it was, more time to think about and respond to the same type of question that I would ask in class,
117 or maybe they felt safer in putting an answer out there, but nonetheless it generated a good deal of inter action and correct answers. Many informants pointed out that keepi ng students engaged in the course was a necessary prerequisite to imparting anthropol ogical concepts. A ccording to interview participants an important stra tegy for keeping students engaged in online courses is to ensure frequent communication between teachers and students, in addition to interactions on discussion boards. Specifically, they stressed the importance of accessibility and providing quick responses to students questions more so than in traditional classes: In most traditional lecture classes, which I have taught a lot before too, there isn't a lot of personal interactio n between myself and students except for office hours. But since I am available via email 24 hours a day, our communication system is much quicker and students are more likely to ask questions. Many of the online teachers indicated th at they keep students engaged through regular feedback and constant reminders. One teacher wrote I make sure I have regular email contact with students. This keeps them engaged in the course and prevents them from intellectually dropping out of the course. Another teachers wr ote, I also send emails every week to those who miss assignments , I give lots of group and individual feedback by email and regular homework assi gnments to check that readings are done, with personalized feedback, constant remi nders of the reading and homework deadlines to avoid drop-out. Structure and Organization Structural strategies and methods are focused mainly on informational content and course management methods. Many online t eachers stressed that these things helped
118 them manage their time, kept students e ngaged in the course, and optimized student learning as well. One teacher offered this advice and a warning about a poorly managed courses: The instructor MUST find ways to avoid letting th e course turn into a set of one-on-one tutorials. I have seen too many c onscientious instructors worn to a frazzle because they failed to attend to this. Indeed, my first online course did dissolve into a set of one-o n-one tutorials with 175 students! At the end of the semester, it was clear to me that the problem was caused by a lack of structure and a failure to provide adequate information about course guidelines to students. Cons equently, I was overwhelmed with e-mail questions about coursework and requests for tutoring from st udents who did not have adequate technical skills. Many interview participants provided suggestions for avoiding similar situations. One teacher provides succinct intros and su mmaries of materials. Another teacher includes detailed information on how to crea te and upload websites, how to use library databases, lists of appropriate websites to visit, lists of keywords to know, sample quiz questions, etc., plus announcements that change week to week. The interview participants also suggested many strategies to encourage student self-reliance and investment in their grades The following are only two examples: I am strict about students taking resp onsibility for their own grade. Once a unit is over, it is overthere is no ma king up of material in this course. My first semester teaching this cour se, I was very lax about this and found that at the end of the semester I was bombarded with back material and excuses. They can track their progressand they know exactly what numerical score will produce a particular letter grade. It puts their grade in their hands and takes it out of mine so that I can be very sympathetic without making ad hoc adjustments.
119 While many of the foregoing strategies and methods can be considered elements of course design, they are not organic to the design itself. Thus, they were included in this section because they act ually work to set the tone of the course in terms of organization. Online Course Design For the sake of simplicity in the e-mail interviews, I did not ask informants to provide detailed descriptions of their courses. Instead, I i nquired into the course tools they employ, and their answers produced substantial information a bout the content and design of their courses. According to their responses, online course content takes many forms and is sometimes supplied by both teachers and students. Most of the online instructors who participated in the inte rviews reported that they used mainly asynchronous tools. In particular, they us ed online discussion boards extensively. The other main tools they employed were onlin e quizzes, exams, and document submission tools. Course Content Interview participants presen ted course content in a vari ety of ways in their online courses. For instance, one teacher wrote. I tape lectures and interviews which the students then watch. Another teacher used interactive multimedia, claiming that by embedding images and charts into the course I can communicate more information that works toward different ways of learning. Sometimes the course content was provided in part by students in the course. In one cl ass, students submitted current event summaries
120 of happenings in each geographic realm that they learned about. Another teachers class was primarily conducted as a seminar in wh ich students contribute to much of the content of each weeks session. Another teacher found course cartridges very useful for developing the course content. Course cartridges are multimedia packages provided by some publishers for use with specific texts, and usually include slideshows and videos, along with pools of quiz and discussion questions. This teacher note d, more and more you s ee course cartridges out there for different texts that include things like PowerPoint pres entations that you can modify, interactive quizzes, flashc ards, things like this that ma ke the load much lighter. Although course cartridges can save teachers time and effort, they require students to purchase a code in order to acce ss the course content. In order to reuse the course design and content, teachers must require students to purchase passes in subsequent semesters. Course Tools Most of the online instruct ors reported that they use asynchronous tools mainly, and some used them exclusively. All but two of the interview participants employed asynchronous discussion boards, the typical ma rkers of facilitated online courses. A majority of the informants courses also in cluded online quizzes or exams in their design, and over half of the courses involved the use of a document submission tool for essay or paper submissions. Many of the online instructors explained th at they used mostly asynchronous tools to account for the needs of non-traditional st udents. One informant wrote, I use no synchronous (live) tools at all. My students come from all over the country and have
121 busy lives (most are older working adults with families) and it is not feasible to have them meet at the same time. Anot her teacher had tried using synchronous communication tools but it was unsucce ssful. She explained: I tried one semester (synchronous) but pa rt of the attraction to students and teachers alike of online courses is that there is no set time to meet, so I never was able to make a time where ev eryone could participate. But even with the students who tried, we were unsuccessful because the schools system was always going down. Only two online instructors in the study used synchronous communication tools primarily, and they were pleased with the resu lts. One teacher wrote about his successful use of chatrooms in a larg e undergraduate course: Having the live chatrooms are partic ularly useful since there would otherwise be no face-to-face meeti ngs like in a regular classroom course. The chatrooms also only have one fraction of the total number in the course, so there is far more st udent-teacher discussion than would be possible in a large (100+) regular classroom course. The other teacher used a virtual classroom and an application sharing tool in her graduate course to make the course as much lik e a face-to-face course as possible. Conclusion Many instructors believed th at the nature of online co mmunication is at the root of most online teaching problems, but fre quent online communication between teachers and students is also the most often suggested solution. In pa rticular, the online instructors stressed that the lack of social cues and conversational exchange s require that more information and guidance need to be provide d to students, both initially and throughout the course.
122 These results point to problems and potenti al solutions that are worth considering in the development of an online anthropology c ourse. Most of the online instructors who participated in the research used asynch ronous tools -online di scussions, quizzes, and writing assignments -as the main components of their online courses. However, these were supplemented with documents and e-mails to provide extensive instructions and guidance to students. Some online instructors be lieve that the subject matter of anthropology is wellsuited to an online setting, a nd online students are also well-suited to anthropology. One teacher wrote, as for online anthropology cour ses in particular, I think that, with the fantastic subject matter that we have, there are many creative ways we could use an online course to present and reinforce material and create debate among the students. Another observation was that anthropology is a field that pushes us to be outside our comfort zones, to navigate many cultural differences, this crossing of boundaries is something that I think online students get used to doing. The research results, and especially the online instructors interviews, provide a picture of the pedagogy of online education in anthropology cla sses that are fairly small, but another survey of anthropology chairs conducted by Simmons (2007) provides a different perspective. He describes different types of course s and different motivations of online instructors than those produced by this research. Simmons (2007) noted that his survey of anthropology chairs focused on distan ce or distant education is informal and inconclusive. He collected data from anth ropology chairs at both public and private institutions and found that anthropology departme nts at public institutions are more likely to engage in distance education than are priv ate institutions. Indeed, public institutions
123 are much more likely to provide online cour ses than are private schools and are over twice as likely to offer entire degree progr ams online than any othe r type of institution (Seaman 2003:5). Simmons surmised that a possible explanat ion for greater participation by public institutions is that distance courses are fre quently taped and re-used (2007:28) and that these time-saving features may appeal to p roductive researchers (2007:29). By comparison, my research focused on online courses at public institutions, most of the online instructors were adjuncts or TAs, n early all used asynchronous methods to teach facilitated online courses, and none of the cour ses were of the taped and reused type. Simmons suggestions may be accurate, how ever, because it is possible that my research missed the typical online instructor and the typical online anthropology course. Also, it may be that productive researchers are less likely to volunteer as research participants, or instructors of online course s that are taped and re-used may not be particularly interested in di scussing online pedagogy. In fact, I expected that a significant number of the online courses reported by th e research participants would resemble courses such as Simmons descri bed, or at least more closely resemble the online course I teach at the University of South Florida, an in troductory course that has an enrollment of 100 or more students. Instead, few courses de scribed by research participants fit either description. If online education is indeed inferior, and only serves as a means for increasing funds to departments and free-up the time of productive researchers, then taped and reused courses can achieve these objectiv es, and also can also be moderated by relatively inexperienced teaching assistants. However, if we accept that online courses
124 and can provide students with a viable al ternative to learning anthropology, then resistance to online educati on and the view that online pe dagogy is inherently inferior only serves to undermine the efforts of online instructors such as t hose who participated in this research. Finally, although nontraditional students we re not an initial item in my research, they clearly emerged as an impor tant consideration in the comments of both department chairs and online teachers. Many online courses are organized around their needs and lifestyles, and both th e online instructors and depart ment chairs indicated that online courses are a good way to reach them. Most of all, the onlin e instructors counted nontraditional students as a reward for teaching online. Thus, I think it is worthwhile for faculty and staff in anthropology departments to consider ways that they might assure the quality of the online courses, and take into account the characteristics of nontraditional students. Suggestions for accomplishing this are included in the following chapter, along with suggestions for possible future research.
125 CHAPTER NINE CONCLUSION Anthropologists must come to grips with the political and economic issues surrounding online education because the dynami cs of these issues contribute to the shape of education in public institutions, including the te aching approaches and methods that must be devised. Anthropology departme nts are not immune to these larger forces; this has been demonstrated many times in th e past. Anthropologists have been required to formulate pedagogical responses to the in flux of undergraduate st udents in the 1960s, declining enrollments in th e 1970s, and the demand for a pplied skills in the 1980s. Today, online education is a pressing concern b ecause it has the poten tial to satisfy both student needs and institutional demands that are fueled by modern political and economic forces. A rapidly growing population of nontraditional students, prompted by workforce requirements for higher education, has converg ed with advancements in interactive technology, and both have exploded onto a stag e of increasing financial pressures in public institutions. On a national scale, publ ic colleges and universities are undergoing huge budget cuts, and have inadequate resour ces to accommodate thei r rapidly-increasing enrollment rates. Some institutions have reacted with hiring freezes, and others are also freezing freshman enrollments. In a climate su ch as this, the notion that online education
126 can save money, space, and time, and can accommodate an increasing population of nontraditional students at the same time, is bound to influence the future direction of institutional solutions. It is time for anth ropologists to acknowledge these conditions, and begin to understand how they will affect th e profession and practice of teaching in all disciplines, including anthropology. When institutional pressures changed the shape of anthropology classrooms in the past, anthropologists were prompted to reflec t on pedagogy in their search for solutions. The same response is needed again. The main problem in such a project is that conversations about pedagogy in anthropology usually occur only when circumstances require. And, unfortunately, whenever interest in pedagogy has strengthened in the past, it has also faded rather fast. One reason for this is that research centered on the practice of teaching is neither encouraged nor reward ed, and there are few publications in which to publish the results. Meeting the challenges of teaching in an environment of rapidly transforming technology will require a proactive approach and sustained attention. First, however, anthropologists must conceive of online e ducation as a both a problem and a potential educational opportunity. The participants in this research have supplied many ideas in this regard that require our attention. Howe ver, since the majority of instructors who participated in the interviews were adjuncts and teaching assistants the voices of faculty are largely missing. The purpose of this chapter is to prov ide the faculty and staff of anthropology departments with a framework for engaging in a conversation about online education. Such a conversation is needed in departments that currently engage in online education,
127 or wish to in the future. Departments that do not plan to particip ate in online education should also examine the grounds for their decisi on, especially if it se ts them apart from the goals and trends of their larger institutions. In departments that online education is desirable and appropriate, the recommendati ons in this chapter provide a guide to addressing problems in online educati on, weighing the possible educational opportunities, and developing a plan for peda gogical solutions. Th ese recommendations are followed by ideas for future research to fill-i n some of the gaps in the research results. Lastly, in the closing remarks, I describe some of the online methods and tools that I have found to be effective, and explain how they have been formed by my experiences as an online student, an online anthropology instructor, and an investigator in this research. Recommendations The results of this research can be applied to a two-part problem. The first part of the problem involves the growth of online education in public in stitutions. Does it affect anthropology departments, and if so, how s hould they respond? Th e second part of the problem is pedagogical. If engaging in online education is a proper or necessary decision, how should it be conducted? This chapter provides three general reco mmendations designed to help individual anthropology departments answer these quest ions. The major issues and gaps in the research results provided the framework for these recommendations, and have also informed the questions and observations th at should be considered. The general recommendations to anthropology de partments are the following:
128 To engage in a frank convers ation about online education To assess the potential resources and institutional structures To create a best practices gui de to online courses, teac hing, and course design The major issues that were uncovered in this research involve complex and conflicted ideas in online edu cation. Some of the beliefs and ideas surrounding the major issues in online education were shared among department chairs and online instructors who participated in this re search, but many opinions on thes e issues between these two groups of informants only intersected, and then diverged. The major issues can be grouped as follows: Concerns about the qua lity of online pedagogy Questions about value of online education A desire to provide learning opport unities to nontraditional students The increased time demands of teaching online Both the department chairs and the onlin e instructors who participated in this research believe that the qua lity of online education is a primary concern, but their opinions about the efficacy of online pe dagogy differ significantly. Nontraditional students were important figures in both surv ey and interview responses, but they were characterized differently by th e two groups of informants. The increased time demands of teaching online was viewed as a problem by both chairs and online instructors, but each group of informants provided different perspectives on the problem. Other issues that should be considered are actually gaps in the research findings -spaces where ideas that are f eatured in the literature revi ews were absent from the
129 research results. These gaps contribute to the recommendations as well because they represent ideas that need to be develope d. Among these gaps are the following: The major goals of teaching anthropo logy challenging students beliefs Active and participatory approaches to learning Collaborative learning appro aches in online pedagogy Having a Conversation about Online Education Some of the research informants believed that their departments would be untouched by the online trend. Others felt in stitutional pressure to engage in online education that varied in degree from slight to intense. Wh ether or not their assessments are accurate, a conversation about online educa tion requires that the participants believe these issues are relevant. Th e differences of opinion, beliefs, and experiences that were revealed in this research sugge st that a wide range of partic ipants should be included in such a conversation. Department chairs, te nured faculty, adjuncts, teaching assistants, and even students, can provide valuable perspectives on the following questions and issues that should be discussed. What are the major problems in online education? Problems in online education are the first topics of discussion because they may present roadblocks to subsequent topics The following problem s were identified by research participants as major issues in online education: Online pedagogy is inherently inferior. There is significant resistance to online education in the discipline.
130 Teaching online is more difficult and requires more time. The belief that online pedagogy is in herently poor should be the first consideration since it leads to a conversa tional dead-end if it is a preconceived conclusion. Some department ch airs who participated in this research hold this view, and others believe that online education poses a threat to traditional education. The main argument to support this view is that online education lack s the social and educational value that comes from face-to -face interactions between teachers and students, although no evidence exists that these social aspects produce more effective or satisfying learning experiences. Also, courses in lecture-halls filled with hundreds of students also lack these interactions. However, the belief that online education is i nherently inferior is difficult to overcome. Therefore, it is a dvisable for participan ts to become better informed about online pedagogy. The faculty of UNT held many discussions about online pedagogy, and the needs of their department and students before de ciding to develop their online program. To become more informed, they invited experienced distance educators to participate in their meetings and had students conduct a literatur e review. If we c onclude that online pedagogy does not fulfill educational expectat ions, but a department is compelled to participate owing to institutional pressure s, the next question should be: Can online pedagogy be improved or adapted to serve the goals of teaching anthropology? The problem of working agai nst negative perceptions a bout online education is a function of the belief that online pedagogy is inherently poor. This perception, and its consequences, was a problem for many of on line instructors who participated in the research. It was also a major concern for th e faculty of UNT, and they work against these
131 negative perceptions so that their courses are not thought of as second-rate, simply by virtue of being online (Wasson 2007:8). The pressure on online instructors to pr ove the value of their courses to an unbelieving audience is an added burden, and an important reason for anthropologists to assess the level of support for onlin e education in their departments before adding online courses to their curriculum. The fact that some departments engage in online education but do not actually support it suggests that their decision was based on the potential benefits, but the potential problem s were not fully recognized. According to the vast majority of pa rticipants in this research, and many educational scholars as well, the increased work demands involved in teaching online courses is a major concern. However, a larg er problem is that administrative proponents of online education subscribe to the belief that online teaching is easier and takes less time, even though reports to the contrary are abundant. The idea that online education is cheap is mainly an opportunist ic institutional belief, but the consequences are passedon to academic departments, online instru ctors, and, ultimately, to students. In this research, the chairs worried that their departments would be forced to offer online courses, and faculty workloads would increase immeasurably as a result. The online instructors also worried about the incr eased time demands, but seemed resolute to treat the problem as another teaching challenge that called for me thodological solutions. As an anthropologist with a political econom ic perspective, I am also disturbed by institutional beliefs surrounding the economic s of online education, and concerned about the implications of these beliefs in terms of instructional labor. However, as an online instructor, I know that some methods in course management and effective online
132 communication can reduce the workload of teaching online. The following questions and observations may help department s to balance these concerns. What are the potential benefits of online education? The following benefits of online courses can influence the ultimate decision of departments to participate, or not, in online education: Anthropology departments can extend their reach. Anthropology is made more acc essible to diverse students. Online education offers unique te aching and learning opportunities. Online education offers flexibility to instructors. In anthropology departments that are expe riencing a decline in enrollment, online education can attract more students. As one online instructor not ed, many students in online courses would not take an anthropology course otherwise. Departments can benefit from an extended reach since some st udents that are introduced to anthropology in an online course may eventually decide to declare anthropol ogy as their major or minor area of study. Individual anthropologi sts can benefit as well since they can introduce their research to a larger audience. Many department chairs and online instructors make the point that online education can improve anthropologys accessibil ity to students. Online education can be an asset for students who lack the necessary resources to take on-campus courses, such as reliable transportation or child care. Onlin e courses are an important alternative for students who are pressured for time, such as parents of young children, full-time workers.
133 They are also an important resource for disabled students for whom attending on-campus classes can be very difficult. Many of the online instructors involved in this research believe that online education presents significant opportunities to both teachers and students. The main reason for their optimistic view is that they pe rceive the lack of social cues and face-toface interactions as teaching challenges, and even advantages, given course designs and teaching strategies that are aimed to elicit and develop independent learning skills in students. In addition to the rewards of facilitating student learning and teaching nontraditional students, many instructors enjoy the challenge of acquiring technical skills and adapting their traditional teaching sk ills to virtual environments. The anytime, anyplace nature of onlin e education that students enjoy also appeals to many teachers. The flexibility of online teaching can allow instructors to manage their time more effectively. For in stance, online teaching can be wrapped around other obligations and responsibil ities, and can be conducted at times and in locations that would cause a traditional teacher to be unavailable. In addition, some online instructors elect to teach online to gain teaching expe rience, keep abreast of developments in anthropology, or to extend th eir teaching activities into their retirement years. Can the pedagogy of anthropology be applied online? This question represents a gap in the research results that needs to be filled-in. Since challenging students beliefs is a majo r goal of teaching anthropology, and because online communication can be easily misunders tood, it seems that challenging students beliefs in an online context would have emerged as a problem in the research results. But
134 that was not the case, and there are at least two possible explanations for this omission. First, my survey and interview questions may not have adequately prompted informants to discuss this topic. Sec ond, it is possible that challenge is not perc eived as a problem because its perpetual presence in anthropol ogy classrooms makes it obvious to the point of seeming commonplace. Nonetheless, since there is general agreement among anthropologists regarding the unique goals of teaching anthro pology, the means of achieving these goals in an on line context should be part of this conversation. Who are nontraditional anthropology students? Nontraditional students are usually defi ned as all students who do not fit the description of traditi onal students (students between the ages of eighteen to twenty-two, enrolled full-time, and living on-campus [Smith et al. 2004]). Using this definition, the National Center for Educational Statistics report that enrollment of nontraditional students grew three times as much as traditional students between 1970 and 2002 (NCES 2004), and traditional students accounted for only 16 percent of the student population in 2004 (Smith et al. 2004). This growth in the population of nontraditional students in recent years is something that anthropologist s should take into account, whether or not they decide to engage in online education, since it predicts the future needs of students. Although we know very little about the id entities of nontraditional anthropology students, numerous comments about them we re included in both interview and survey responses. Department chairs usually referre d to them in general terms as the primary beneficiaries of online education. The online in structors identified them as the majority of their online students and described them more specifically, and often in glowing terms.
135 One instructor counted them as a reward fo r online teaching, and another described them as border crossers who are able to navig ate the virtual and the non-virtual realms and seem to be able to manage the courses better. What is the relationship between onlin e education and nontraditional students? Online education is known for its appeal to nontraditional students, and there are reasons to believe both are marginalized in higher education. Th e marginalization of online education in anthropology departments is apparent in the low ra te of participation by anthropology departments, and in the larg e number of remarks about its poor quality and inferior pedagogy in the de partment chair survey. However, the most disturbing research finding is that an equally large num ber of statements on the survey emphasize its value in serving nontra ditional students. Most important, I think, is that anth ropologists should deconstruct the link between nontraditional students and online ed ucation, and between online education and poor pedagogy. If we accept that online pe dagogy is inherently poor and cannot be improved, we should ask if online education can be justified by its poten tial benefits. If so, a worrisome educational compromise is creat ed. This is especially problematic in the presence of institutional practices that alr eady treat nontraditional students as different, but not positively different, from traditional students (Donaldson & Townsend 2007:45). Does online education require special skills of students? The instructors involved in the study point out that online cour ses require more self-motivation and discipline th an a traditional class. Some counted online students as
136 an incentive and a reward for teaching online because they are self-motivated and possess special skills. This view is also shared by many students in my online classes; they regard their proficiency in online learning as an other highly-valued skill. This is apparent each semester when they introduce themselves on the discussion boards. A surprising number of students introduce themselves according to the level of expertise in online learning they possess. They announce the num ber of online courses they have taken, proclaim their seasoned position, and many assu me mentor roles and reassure newbies with offers of assistance. Anthropolo gy departments can identify nontraditional anthropology students and the sk ills that help them to succee d in an online environment, and this knowledge can be figured into online teaching approaches and methods. The idea that online students possess certain advanced learning skills raises questions about the prudence of assigning online courses to instructors who lack experience in teaching. In my online classe s, many students are self-directed and very organized, and many less-experien ced students make great progress in these skills with the proper direction. Both can be can be disadvantaged by inexperienced online instructors. Although both department chairs and inst ructors dispute the belief that online courses are easier to teach or require le ss time, the opposite is perpetuated through departmental practices of assigning online co urses to less-experienced teachers, or assigning them as overload course s to regular faculty. The la rger problem is that these practices are often required by financial pressures and institutional structures.
137 Accounting for Institutional Stru ctures and Department Resources If a discussion of the previous issues, and others that may arise, reveal that the level of interest and benefits to departments, instructors, and students, can support the development of online education, the mechan ics of developing such a plan should be considered. The following are some of the items that should be considered: Labor pools and an emerging duel labor market Institutional policies rega rding course ownership Department resources and teaching Incentives Just as in the previous assessment, the fo llowing questions and observations are drawn mainly from the major issues this research uncovered. Is there an available labor pool? Since the findings of the department chai r survey indicate that the main reason anthropology departments do not participate in online education is that faculty interest or expertise is lacking, it is advi sable to begin with a survey of interest and expertise in online teaching within the department. If th e degree of interest in teaching online is inadequate among faculty, part-tim e or adjunct instructors may be needed. In fact, it is likely that such appointments will be required. Many online instructors who were research informants are either adjunct instructors or teaching assistants. All of the courses in the online undergraduate minor program in anthropology at the University of Oregon are taught by adjuncts or teaching assistants. These appointments of online teach ers are consistent with the larger emerging dual-labor market in higher education, and it is arguable that online education is linked to
138 this trend. Nationally, the proportion of te nured positions at degree granting institutions is shrinking rapidly, and the proportion of part-time positions is increasing correspondingly so much so that tenured professors have been referred to as an endangered species in American higher educ ation (Lederman 2007). These conditions are an expression of the commodificati on of education, and the subsequent transformation of public educati onal institutions into corporat ions with the power to hire and fire at will. Anthropologists should be concerned about this since the loss of tenured positions also means the loss of academic freedom. What institutional policies influe nce a plan for online education? The research results demonstrate that few faculty or instructors understand the policies regarding the ownership of online courses at their institutions, and some are reluctant to ask. According to Rhoades (2005), the dual labo r market in academia is complicit in the silencing of non-tenured f acultys voice and right s (Rhoades 2005:477), and this may account for the confusion con cerning course ownership rights among the online instructors in this research. Alt hough the online teachers who took part in this study were not overly concerned about cour se ownership, many voiced their opinions regarding fair compensation for the time they invest in developing new online courses, and harbored strong beliefs that their work should be respected. By contrast, the department chairs demonstrat ed little interest in the topic. This may also be a function of the emerging dua l-labor market in higher-education since policies regarding course owne rship appear to have littl e impact on faculty members unless they become online instructors. This appearance many be deceiving though,
139 because the nature of ownership of online courses can blur the lines of intellectual property, and other types of c ourses may eventually be encircled by the arguments that have successfully divided online courses into disc rete components of content and shell. What resources and incentives can be provided? Aside from economic rewards, which th e research informants numerously mentioned, the resources that are most ofte n ether provided or desired are technical support and expertise, tools and supplies, and instructor incen tives. Technical support is the resource most often provided by department s represented in this research, but this offering does not appear to entice the online in structors who were interviewed. Technical support is useful for instructors who need assi stance with certain tasks that may be fairly complicated, but it is not a subs titute for the expertise that is required for maintaining and teaching online courses on a day-to-day basis. Although the idea of online instruction can c onjure images of a lone teacher with a single computer on his/her desk, it does not fit the description of the online courses taught by the instructors who took part in th is research. Some online courses require specialized hardware or soft ware. Other optional items, su ch as laptop computers, can allow online teachers to provide the flexibility that online students value, and can make the work of teaching online more efficient. The opportunity to explore the possibilities of technology in learning can be an incentive as well, although the instructors in this study were mainly motivated by the independence and flexibility that online teach ing afforded. In addition to incentives for online teaching, reward for developing online co urses should also be considered. Some
140 of the online instructors who were inte rviewed did not receive compensation for developing their online courses, and others were compensated only minimally. In contrast, one department provided online teach ers with the choice of a stipend equivalent to teaching a course for a semester or a c ourse reduction for the development of a new online course, as long as they agreed to teach th e course for at least tw o semesters. All of these resources should be considered in developing an online education plan. Developing a Best Practices Guide to Online Teaching and Course Design Since this research revealed significan t differences of opinion on the quality and value of online education, especially between department chairs and online instructors, it would be prudent for anthropology department s to develop a best practices guide for online teaching and course design. The following aspects of online education should be considered in the development of a best practices guide: Teaching approaches and methods Suitable courses Optimal class size Online course design Although standardizing certain aspects of on line education does not guarantee quality instruction or student achieve ment of learning objectives, it can organize online courses according to the educational needs and standa rds of individual departments, provide a useful teaching guide for online instructors, and a baseline for future improvements. What are suitable course s and optimal class size?
141 There are a number of impor tant questions that should be considered to identify suitable courses and class size, and the an swers will influence the eventual teaching methods and course designs. Are graduate courses, upper-level and major courses, or non-major and introductory courses more appropriate? Will high enrollments and packaged/programmed courses dominate, or will smaller, facilitated courses better serve the departments needs, goals, and students? The survey of department chairs sugges t that introductory co urses in anthropology may be best-suited to an online environmen t, although there were more upper-level and major offerings represented in the research. There were also conf licting opinions on the subjects that should be offered online, and it is possible that that some of these conflicts are a matter of individual areas of interest and expertise. As experts in specific areas, we are able to see greater importance in what may appear to others to be the fine points of a subject, and we may believe that these points are more difficult to impart to students in an online environment. This is one reason that it is important to in clude the input of a diverse group of informants in the course selection process. Also, we should be aware of the possibility that introductory courses may be relegated to online environments and parttime instructors because many faculty prefer not to teach them. In this regard, we should ask if it is the suitability of the course and the subject that is being wei ghed, or if the selections are based on the potential instructors instead. The danger in this approach to c ourse selection is that it feeds into the marginalization of online education, nontraditiona l students, and part-time instructors. It also perpetuates the idea that online courses are less valuable because they are cheaper and easier to produce and teach.
142 The research results also give us an idea about the size of many online anthropology classes. The majority of course s represented in the research were small to mid-sized classes, between 20 and 65 students. These numbers may be a measure of the course levels and subjects th at were reported, and perhaps th e size of the institutions. Nonetheless, many institutions apply pre ssure to departments to increase their enrollments without funding more instructors, and this dictates that some classes may need be quite large. Should these classes be offered in large lecture halls or as online courses? All of these elements need be f actored into decisions on optimal class size. What online teaching approaches and methods will be used? There are many things to consider in determining the best online teaching approaches and methods. The purpose of a teach ing guide is to develop ideas that make sense in the context of disciplinary aims and goals, and to enable less experienced instructors to exploit the knowledge of more expe rienced teachers. Still, it is important to be mindful that teaching is also an expression of creativ ity, and that many formative learning and teaching experiences are those th at occur spontaneously. The following are some of the aspects of online teach ing that deserve consideration: Connections between teaching methods, class size, and time Online pedagogy and distance education theory Anthropological concepts and online communication Online collaboration, and activ e and participatory learning Assessment of learning objectives
143 Depending on the degree of concern regard ing the efficacy of online instruction, some measure of uniformity in teaching approaches and methods may be desired. This prospect does not need to be alarming. An online environment itself imposes some limitations, but this is also true of some tr aditional classes. For example, a very large class that takes place in a huge lecture hall can limit the po ssible teaching approaches and methods that can be employed. Also, online in structors, as a group, appear to be fairly consistent in favoring certain teaching methods and tools, even in the presence of the wide-range of selections that are available. Course subjects, levels, and enrollment numbers will also affect the teaching methods and strategies that can be used. A facilitated approach to online teaching requires generous attention to online communica tion which can be difficult to achieve in a large class. My online courses can be used as an example. I use a facilitated approach in three online anthropology courses with the enrollments of approximately 30, 50, and 100 students. Because I believe that online discussions are critical to learning about anthropological concepts, and also provide students with a sense of connection, the discussion boards are an important part of each course. Since not all students participate in all of the discussions, I have found that a class of 30 students usually does not produce active discussions, and a class of 100 students is chaotic and difficult to facilitate, and requires a great deal of time. However, a class of 50 students usually results in a number of di verse perspectives and produces very active discussions. Of course, large classes can be broken-down into smaller groups, but that solution requires duplication a nd can increase the amount of time that is required to facilitate a large class. In a facilitated course that involves several online discussions, I
144 believe a teaching assistant is required for each additional 50 students. Otherwise the course should be redesigned as a programme d course that requires less facilitation. In this case, a teaching assistant should be assigned for each 100 students, simply to keep-up with e-mail communication. Although none of the interview participants discussed distance education theory explicitly, many of the strategies and methods they shared are consistent with the theory of transactional distance (Moore, 1989). According to Moore (1989), the degree of transactional distance in online courses is the basis for the sense of isolation that some students may feel in an online environmen t, and is also the cause of many online misunderstandings. Supposedly, the reduction of transactional distance is accomplished chiefly through structured onlin e communication such as the online instructors in this research described. They stressed very strongly that clear and consistent guidelines, continuous communication, and constant reminders are e ssential to student success in an online environment. They also acknowledged th at both students and teachers have extra responsibilities in an online setting. Teachers must alter th eir teaching strategies to enable numerous avenues of communicati on and maximize technological possibilities, and encourage students to assume more respon sibility for their learning and ask questions when they need clarification. However, there are also problems with online communicatio n. The lack of opportunities for conversational exchanges was identified by the online instructors as the primary problem of teaching anthropology online. At the same time, online communication was regarded as the most eff ective method for imparting anthropological
145 concepts. The tension created by this probl em and solution should be examined: should we avoid online communication as a centr al teaching method because it presents problems, or embrace it because it offers le arning opportunities? Most of the online instructors in this study chose the latter. Online communication is also critical to collaborative approaches in online learning, a topic that was missing from the rese arch results. Methods and strategies for collaborative leaning, such as developing online learning communities and group projects, are described in the c ontext of graduate courses main ly. Since nearly all of the online courses described in the online instructor interviews were undergraduate courses, it is not surprising that these ideas were absent. However, in anthropology departments that wish to offer graduate courses online, methods and strategies in collaborative learning should be explored. Also, the coll aborative aspects of online discussions that appear to occur without being prompted, refe rred to as pseudo-collaboration by one informant, should not be discounted. Since methods and strategies in active and participatory learning were scarcely mentioned by the research informants, but are highly-regarded in the teaching of anthropology, anthropologists ne ed to generate ideas for encouraging active learning in an online environment. Can active learning actually occur in an online classroom, or do we need to create assignments that will pr oduce active learning during students offline time? Finally, the assessment of students achie vement of learning objectives received very little attention, as it does in most lit erature on teaching anthropology. This may be due to the difficulty of assessing the achievem ent of learning object ives, both online and
146 off, in social science courses. In anth ropology, in particular, the success of imparting anthropological concepts and developing an anthropological pers pective are nearly impossible to assess. Moreover, assessment was not a topic that was solicited in the interview questions. However, nearly all of the online instruct ors indicated that they used online quizzes and exams as assessment tools. Other instructors argued that writing assignments are essential to rendering an accura te assessment of students ability to grasp anthropological concepts. T hus, the assessment of course objectives is a topic that requires our attention. What is the best course design? Online course management systems offer unlimited options in terms of tools and course design. However, the tools and designs preferred by the on line instructors who participated in the research are fairly c onsistent and uncomplicated. Moreover, the majority of online teachers use asynchronous to ols in keeping with the flexibility that online and nontraditional students require. Most courses represented in this research are designed for facilitated online teaching, and are organized around asynchronous online communication primarily. Most importantly, the majority of instructors who participated in this research are focused mainly on pr actical ways to avoid overwork and redundancy for teachers, and to reduce the confusion of online students. They do this through course management and online communication that prov ides clear and detail ed instructions and answers to students questions in advance. Since these are critical to successful online learning, they should be emphasized in discussions about course design.
147 Another topic to be considered in the contex t of course design is the use of course cartridges. These multimedia packages contai n course content that is created by textbook publishers and can be downloaded into most course management systems. Course cartridges can make the task of creating an online course easier, but I believe there are reasons to be concerned about their prolif eration and use. In my experience, the electronic content provided by publishers raise questions about the credentials of their creators. The exam questions contain numer ous errors, and the discussion topics lack creativity and fail to engage students in active learning. In addition, the keys that students are required to purchase in order to access the content essentially lock-down the online course since it cannot be reused unl ess the purchase of ke ys are required in successive semesters. I think the implica tions of course cartridges in terms of surrendering control of a cour se and contributing to the commodification of education should be considered carefully. Future Research The motivations that entice instructors to teach online are important to understand if we hope to increase the number and quality of online courses. Also, because challenging students beliefs and encouraging the developm ent of an anthropological perspective that extends beyond the classroom are central teaching goa ls in anthropology, the online methods for achieving these goals ne ed to be better understood. Finally, the specific skills and behaviors that allow students to perform well in online courses need to be defined. The following suggestions for fu ture research are aimed to address these concerns.
148 An Ethnography of Online Teaching Since the research results show that a lack of faculty interest is one of the main reasons that anthropology departments do not offer online courses, it is important to understand the elements that make online t eaching appealing. Insofar as instructor motivation and satisfaction can influence the quality of instruction provided to students, the motivations of online teachers are im portant to understand. Therefore, an ethnography of online teaching w ould be useful to departments that are interested in engaging in online education, whether in anthropology or other disciplines. Some educators argue that faculty are only interested in cashing-in (Fogg 2007) on online teaching. They point out that some faculty teach numerous online courses, in addition to their regular teaching schedules and are compensated according to the number of students enrolled (Fogg 2007). Alt hough this practice can lead to substantial economic rewards, it probably produces poor educational outcomes for students. By contrast, the online instructors who participated in this res earch were not motivated by economic rewards. The results of this research demonstrate that life style is an important factor in the decision to teach online since the flexibility th at online teaching affords was reported to be a primary motivator for online instructors. Since my research included the views of only a small sample of online instructors an ethnographic study of online teaching that in cludes a larger group of online instructors from a broader range of disciplines and in stitutions may provide a more dense and diverse representation of online teachers and their motivations for teaching online. This information may help departments and institutions to screen-out cashing-in as an
149 incentive for online teaching, and to identify and develop more effective incentives for encouraging quality online education. Affective Learning in an Online Environment Research into affective learning in an online environment can serve the development of online courses in the social sciences, especially f acilitated courses in which discussions are central. Segal (1993: 39) notes that the a ffective domain of knowledge is not unique to teaching anthropology, but it is impor tant to that enterprise. According to the principles of Blooms ta xonomy of learning (Hall 2005), the affective domain involves a students ability to conceptualize and generalize values, processes that are central to the major goals of teaching anthropology and the development of an anthropological perspective. Educators write about the importance of providing non-threatening learning spaces in online environments, and anthr opologists write about the importance of challenging students beliefs. Both of these conditions need to be carefully balanced in an online course. This balance, in the pr esence of discussions of topics that produce defensive reactions and conflicting opinions su ch as anthropologica l concepts often do, can promote affective learning objectives. Spatariu et al. (2001) claim that online discussions that engage student s in debates or arguments can be very productive, just as disagreements in traditional classrooms produce valuable teaching and learning opportunities. Spatariu et al. also provide multiple examples of methods in content analysis that can be used to measure this quality in online discu ssions. Measuring this
150 quality is especially important if confronti ng students beliefs is a major aim of teaching anthropology in an online class as it is in a traditional classroom. Who are Nontraditional Online Students? Accurate identification of the audience is an important first step in course development. Although nontraditional students were referred to frequently in both the survey and interview responses, we have onl y a vague impression of who these students really are. Are they borde r-crossers, as one online inst ructor in this study suggested, and better able to traverse the rapidl y transforming online environment? An understanding of the ways that these students ar e similar to one another, or are different from traditional students, can be useful for selecting compatible online teaching approaches and methods in anthropology. Although many studies have been conducted that surveyed distance students and reached conclusions about their levels of sa tisfaction, these studies are focused mainly on student satisfaction in response to behaviors of teachers. An anthropological perspective of nontraditional students may be able to reveal motivations for learning online as it relates to students daily lives. At least one such account that touc hed upon these aspects of online learning was provided by an online inst ructor who participated in this research, and who had been online graduate student in anthropology in the past. He wrote, I had very cooperative professors and was able to take more courses per term than if I was on campus, giving me a broader perspective of all four fields of anthropologyliving overs eas I could focus on researching aspects of my host country that I never could have done back in the US...I was able to relate my studies to field work in Japan and Italy.
151 An anthropological study of nontraditional students that provides an understanding of the specific characteristics or skills that help students to succeed in online courses may help to guide the efforts of both online instructors and course designers. Closing Remarks It is not surprising that the major themes that emerged from the research results involved concerns about teacher workloads a nd the efficacy of new teaching approaches since these are the primary conditions that prom pted surges of intere st in the pedagogy of anthropology in the past -and there are signs that interest in the teaching of anthropology is on the rise again. I believe this growing interest, if indeed it exists, offers opportunities for anthropologists who teach on line to provide a broader perspective of online pedagogy, to connect teaching anthropology to distance education theory, and to share the teaching methods they have devised. The online instructors who agreed to be interviewed shared some of their online t eaching methods through their participation in this research, and some of the methods that I use are provided in these closing remarks. My approach to online teaching has been formed by my experiences as a nontraditional student, a student in both traditional and online classes, an online instructor, and an investigator in this research. As a student in a traditional classroom, I never questioned the image of a teacher as an elevated figure who lect ures at the front of a class. Certainly, some anthropologists us e teaching methods that involve activities and projects designed to engage students in their own learning, but even in this approach, the
152 teacher is usually perceived by students as the central knowledge-keep er by virtue of her position in the academic landscape. As I was a nontraditional student by circum stance, and an independent learner by nature, online education was a welcome learning opportunity. However, not all online courses were the same in terms of quality. Some online courses in which I was enrolled were chaotic; information that should have b een linked together was spread out in several different locations on the course website instead. In one course in particular, the online discussions were not interactive, but rather were made-up of an initial qu estion posted by the instructor (the answer to which could be found in the text) and a long column of students answers posted below. The instructor seemed frustrated whenever I asked a question, and her belated answer s were usually confusing. In another course, the instru ctor was very well-organi zed and the course website was well-structured. As a re sult, I had few questions, but always received friendly and speedy answers that were very useful whenev er I asked one. Also, the coursework was designed to encourage active learning through assignments that invo lved the creation of online projects. At the end of the course, I felt accomplished in the skills and knowledge that I acquired. These different types of online learni ng experiences taught me many of the strategies that the online inst ructors in this study suggested, in particular, to prepare an organized course website with generous inst ructions, and to provide prompt and concise answers to students questions. In fact, I di scovered that I would receive zillions of emails unless I answered students questions preemptively. To do this, I created a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document that is always available to students. I add
153 the questions that students ask to the FAQ and it grows more comprehensive each semester. In addition, I create a Q&A discussion board where students can ask questions or assist one another. Nonetheless, I found that many students do not read the syllabus, the FAQ document, or access the Q&A discussion board, no matter how many reminders are provided. The most useful tool I have devise d to address this probl em is an orientation quiz that students are required to take duri ng the first week of the semester. The quiz questions cover information provided in th e FAQ and the syllabus, such as assignment expectations and grading information. Student s can take the quiz as many times as they wish during the orientation week, but must earn a perfect score on the quiz before continuing on to other course assignments. This requires that they read the course documents carefully. In addition to the quiz, students must practice submitting documents online, posting to discussion boards, and sending me ssages during the orientation week. This practice usually addresses many of the techni cal problems students wi ll encounter during the semester. When I receive questions that have already been answered elsewhere, I direct students to the proper location to find the answer so that they will become accustomed to accessing these resources independently. The courses I teach are facilitated online courses. Just as many of the online instructors in the study, I use mainly asynchronous tools. Online quizzes and exams are part of the coursework, but the discussion boa rds are the central f eature. Anthropology encourages students to observe and interact in diverse environments and communities in
154 the real world, but active and participatory le arning projects are difficult to orchestrate in an online context. To encourage active learning in my online co urses, and to avoid the linear type of discussions that I experienced as an onlin e student, I create discussion topics that encourage students to learn about anthropol ogy in their communities and through social interactions. Many of these discussion t opics involve conducti ng interviews (for examples, see Appendix G), and then discussi ng the results in the online class. These discussions are collaborative, or at least pseudo collaborative as described by one online instructor in this research. For instance, students reinforce anthropological concepts interactively when they analy ze the interview result s online as a group. Just as many of the instructors who partic ipated in this research, I believe that online education in anthropology has a brig ht future. The extent to which an anthropological perspective is imparted to students cannot be measured accurately, but many students in my courses have demonstrat ed (and claimed) that they have been affected, perhaps even enlightened, by the an thropological concepts to which they have been exposed. Therefore, the developmen t of teaching methods that overcome, or somehow exploit, the characteristics of an online learning environment is a worthwhile project, especially if we want to serve nontraditional students a nd introduce anthropology to a larger audience.
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173 White, Jane J. 1997 Teaching About Cultural Diversity. In The Teaching of Anthropology: Problems, Issues, and Decisions. C. P. Kotta k, J. J. White, R. H. Furlow, and P. C. Rice, eds. Pp. 70-76. Mountain View CA: Mayfield Publishing Company. Williams, S., and C. Pury 2002 Student Attitudes Toward and Part icipation in Electronic Discussions. International Journal of Educational Technology 3(1) Electronic document, http://smi.curtin.edu.au/ijet/issues.html, accessed Jan 12 2007. Wilson, Samuel M, and Leighton C. Peterson 2002 The Anthropology of Online Communities. Annual Review of Anthropology 31:449-67. Wong, L. F. and S. G. Trinidad 2003 Using Web-Based Distance Learning to Reduce Cultural Distance. The Journal of Interactive Online Lear ning 3(1). Electronic document, http://www.ncolr.org/jiol accessed November 16, 2007. Zhang, K. E. and Allison Carr-Chellman 2001 Courseware & Copyright: Whose Rights are Right? Annual Proceedings of Selected Research and Development 1(2). Atlanta. GA: Association for Educational Communication and Technology. Zieger, Laura 2005 Establishing a Community of Lear ners: A Case Study of a University Graduate Orientation Program for Online Learners. The Journal of Interactive Online Learning 2(4). Electronic document, http://www.ncolr.org/jiol accessed November 20, 2007.
175 Appendix A Web Survey Flow Chart Title of the Research Project: The Pedagogy and Politics of Online Education in Anthropology Principal Investigator: Linda J. Hose, M.A. Institution (optional) Current online anthropology courses (at least 80% of the course is conducted online) 1. Does your department offer online anthropology courses? Yes If yes, please list courses: Title & Course # Undergrad or Grad? Major or Gen. Ed.? Approx. Enrollment If undergrad, upper or lower level course? (go to 3) No (go to 3) Incentives/Barriers 2. Does your institute/department provide any of the following incentives or accommodations to teachers of online c ourses (when compared to a typical classroom course with the same number of students)? Additional time allowance Supplemental economic compensation Additional administrative or instructional support Technical support Other Comments (go to 3)
176 Appendix A (Continued) Future Plans 3. Is adding or increasing the number of online offerings an institution goal? Yes No Dont know Comments (go to 4) 4. Is adding or increasing the number of online offerings a departmental goal? No Why not Insufficient funding Lack of faculty interest or expertise Inadequate technology Other Comments (go to 5) Yes Does your department have specif ic goals for adding or increasing the number of online offerings in the 2006/2007 school year? Yes How many? Comments (go to 5) No Why not? Insufficient funding Lack of faculty interest or expertise Inadequate technology Other Comments (go to 5)
177 Appendix A (Continued) Dont know Comments ( go to 5) Dont know Comments (go to 5) Institutional Policy 5. Does your institution have a policy governing the ownership of online courses? Yes No Dont know Comments Your Impressions 6. What are your thoughts about online education in general, and online anthropology courses in particular.
178 Appendix B Online Instructor Interview Protocol Research Study: The Pedagogy and Politics of Online Education in Anthropology Principal Investigator: Linda J. Hose Online teaching and course design 1. What online anthropology course/s do you t each, and how many students are enrolled? 2. Please describe the use of synchronous/async hronous tools in your online course. 3. What types of student-st udent or student-teacher co mmunication are involved? 4. Is the coursework geared to collaborative or self-directed lear ning (or both)? Please give examples. 5. What teaching strategies or methods have you found to be particularly useful in an online anthropology course? 6. What issues, if any, are unique to teachi ng anthropology in an online environment? Institutions 7. What are the incentives or barriers to te aching online at your in stitution/department? 8. Does your institution have a policy governing the ownershi p of online courses? 9. What accommodations or in centives would prompt you to design or teach more online anthropology courses? Your perspectives 10. What compels you to teach online? 11. What are your thoughts about online education in genera l, and online anthropology courses in particular?
179 Appendix C Department Chair Invitation to Participate Dear Professor --I am a doctoral student in applied anthropology at the University of South Florida, and am conducting a research study on online education in anthropology. I am sending you this e-mail to request your participation in a survey of anthropol ogy department chairs, and to seek your help to identify onlin e anthropology teachers who may agree to participate in e-mail interviews that are another part of the study. The anthropology department chair survey can be accessed at: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=547281489806 It will take just a few minutes of your time to complete. Your response does not require identifying information, will not be linked to your e-mail address, and will be sent over a secure, encrypted connection. A study info rmation sheet is also available at http://shell.cas.usf.edu/~lhose/SURVEY/StudyInformationSheet.html for your review. The e-mail interviews with onl ine teachers are composed of questions about the methods and design of their online course and their experiences as onl ine teachers. It will take about 1 hour to answer the initial interview questions, although I hope to also ask a few follow-up questions that may arise from their in itial answers. Please encourage teachers of online courses in your depa rtment to contact me at email@example.com if they would like to participate in the interview portion of the study or if they have any questions. Thank you in advance for your assistance in this study. Sincerely, Linda J. Hose, MA Department of Anthropology University of South Florida Tele: 813.974.2138 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
180 Appendix D Study Information Sheet Study Information Sheet: Survey of Anthropology Department Chairs Research Study: The Pedagogy and Politics of Online Education in Anthropology P.I.: Linda J. Hose, M.A., University of S outh Florida, Department of Anthropology To receive the results of this research, please send an e-mail to email@example.com or call (813) 361-8301. This research is conducted at the University of South Florida (USF). We want to learn more about online education in Anthropology and would like to invite you to take part in the survey portion of the study. The survey will take only a few minutes to complete, although we encourage you to include additional comments as you wish. Your responses will be sent over a secure, encrypted connection. The first question of the survey asks for information about online anthropology course offerings at your institution (course title, #, and enrollment). The remaining five questions are concerned with institutional/depar tmental goals, plans, and policies. Most questions can be answered with a click of your mouse. The anthropology department chair survey is part of two-phase study. The purpose of the survey is to achieve a gene ral overview of online educat ion in anthropology in public colleges and universities. The other part of the study involves in terviews with online anthropology teachers and is designed to gain an understanding of the methods and issues involved in teaching anthropology online. This information sheet accompanies the survey for anthropology department chairs. We do not anticipate any risks in taking part in this survey. It does not require that you provide identifying information, but if you choos e to include the name of your institution, or any other identifying information, it will be kept confidential. There are no incentives offered for completing the survey, but we would like to send you the results of our research. We anticipate th at the preliminary results of the Survey will be available in June, 2006, and the final results of the research project will be available approximately June 1, 2007.
Appendix E INFORMED CONSENT FOR AN ADULT Social and Behavioral Sciences University of South Florida Information for People Who Take Part in Research Studies Researchers at the University of South Fl orida (USF) study many topics. We want to learn more about online educat ion in Anthropology. To do this, we need the help of people who agree to take pa rt in a research study. Title of research study: The Pedagogy and Politics of Online Education in Anthropology Person in charge of study: Linda J. Hose, M.A. Study staff who can act on behalf of the person in charge: S. Elizabeth Bird, Ph.D. Where the study will be done: University of South Florida Should you take part in this study? This form tells you about this research study. You can decide if you want to take part in it. You do not have to take part. Reading this form can help you decide. Before you decide: Read this form. Talk about this study with the person in charge of the study or the person explaining the study. You can have someone with you when you talk about the study. Find out what the study is about. You can ask questions: You may have questions this form does not answer. If you do, ask the person in charge of the study or study staff as you go along. You dont have to guess at things you dont understand. Ask the people doing the study to explain things in a way you can understand. After you read this form, you can: Take your time to think about it. Have a friend or family member read it. Talk it over with someone you trust. Its up to you. If you choose to be in the study, then you can sign the form. If you do not want to take part in this study, do not sign the form. 181
182 Appendix E (Continued) Why is this research being done? The purpose of this study is to gain an ove rview of online educati on in Anthropology in public colleges and universitie s, and to achieve an understanding of the methods and issues involved in teaching anthropology online. This is a two-part study that will be accomplished through a survey with anthr opology department chairs and e-mail interviews with online anthropology teachers. This Informed Consent form is designed for interview participants only. Why are you being asked to take part? We are asking you to take part in this st udy because you teach an anthropology course online at a public college or university. How long will you be asked to stay in the study? You will be asked to spend about 2 weeks in this study, depending on the number of emails to which you respond. How often will you need to come for study visits? A study visit is one you have with the person in ch arge of the study or study staff. In this study, visits refer to e-mail contacts. Ther e will be 1-3 study visits in all. The e-mail interviews will be conducted between April 2006 and May 2007. If you agree to take part in the study, you will receive one e-mail containing the initial interview questions. You may receive 1-2 follow-up e-mails to clarify your responses. Most study visits will take about 15-60 minutes. Some may be shorter or longer depending on the amount of time you spend composing your e-mail responses. At each visit, the person in charge of the study or staff will: Send you an e-mail containing questions about the online course that you teach, including the course design, the teaching methods you use, and the issues you encounter. Some questions also ask about the resources and policies of your institution. The follow-up emails will contain questions to clarify your initial responses. How many other people will take part? About 40 people will take part in the interv iew portion of this study. Approximately 235 other people will take part in a Web survey. A total of about 275 people will take part in the study. What other choices do you have if you decide not to take part? If you decide not to take part in this study, there are no othe r choices for participation.
183 Appendix E (Continued) How do you get started? If you decide to take part in this study, you will need to sign this consent form and return it in the envelope provided. Soon after, the researcher will contact you to set up the initial interview. What will happen during this study? When we receive your signed consent form, you will be sent a confirming e-mail containing the interview questions. If you wi sh, you can also tell us which week or month you would like to receive the interv iew questions (April 2006 through May 2007). The interviews are strictly a part of the research. Here is what you will need to do during this study You will need to respond to the initial inte rview questions that are sent to you by e-mail to take part in this study. We hope you will also respond to follow-up questions that will be sent within 1 week of your initial response. Will you be paid for taking part in this study? We will not pay you for the time you volunteer in this study. What will it cost you to take part in this study? It will not cost you anything to take part in the study. What are the potential benefits if you take part in this study? We dont know if you will get any benefits by ta king part in this study, but we encourage you to request the study results. You will be contributing to our understanding of the factors that encourage or discourage the teaching of online anthropology courses. What are the risks if you take part in this study? There are no known risks to those who take part in this study. If you have any of these problems, call the pers on in charge of this study right away at 813361-8301. What will we do to keep your study records private? Federal law requires us to keep your study records private. To insure that your records are kept confidentia l, all research documents will be stored in a locked file. Your identifying inform ation will be purged from e-mails when your interview is complete. However, certain people may need to see your study records. By law, anyone who looks at your records must keep them confidential. The only people who will be allowed to see these records are:
184 Appendix E (Continued) The study staff. People who make sure that we are doing the study in the right way. They also make sure that we protect your rights and safety: o The USF Institutional Review Board (IRB), and its staff and any other individuals acting on behalf of USF o The United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) We may publish what we find out from this study. If we do, we will not use your name or anything else that woul d let people know who you are. What happens if you decide not to take part in this study? You should only take part in this st udy if you want to take part. If you decide not to take part: There are no penalties for declining to participate in this study. What if you join the study and then later decide you want to stop? There are no penalties if you decide to stop your partic ipation in this study. Are there reasons we might take you out of the study later on? Even if you want to stay in the study, there may be reasons we will need to take you out of it. You may be taken out of this study: If you are not responding to study questions/visits when scheduled. You can get the answers to your questions. If you have any questions about this study, call Linda J. Hose at 813-361-8301 If you have questions about your rights as a person who is taking part in a study, call USF Research Integrity and Co mpliance at (813) 974-5638. Consent to Take Part in this Research Study Its up to you. You can decide if you want to take part in this study. I freely give my consent to take part in this study. I understand that this is research. I have received a copy of this consent form. ________________________ ________________________ ___________ Signature Printed Name Date of Person taking part in study of Person taking part in study
185 Appendix E (Continued) Statement of Person Obtaining Informed Consent I certify that participants have been provided with an informed consent form that has been approved by the University of South Fl oridas Institutional Re view Board and that explains the nature, demands, risk s, and benefits involved in pa rticipating in this study. I further certify that a phone number has b een provided in the event of additional questions. _________________________________________________________________ Signature of Investigator Printed Name of Investigator Date
186 Appendix F Invitation to The Council on Anthro pology and Education H-Net List Hello: Im a Ph.D. student in applied anthropology and am searching for teachers of online anthropology courses who are willing to take part in e-mail interviews as part of my doctoral research on the peda gogy and politics of teaching online. If you (or anyone you know) would like to participat e, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org The interview will take about an hour to comp lete, depending on your answers, and can be done at your convenience before March 1, 2007, I appreciate your time. Thank you, Linda Linda J. Hose, M.A. Department of Anthropology University of South Florida Tele: 813.974.2138 E-mail: email@example.com. usf .edu
187 Appendix G Discussion Topic Examples Economic Anthropology We hear a lot about a steadily grow ing culture of debt in the US. Presumably, people use credit card s to buy frivolous items and live beyond their means. Read the article Dangerous Culture of Debt Must Be Avoided at: http://www.dailycampus.com/media/paper340/news/2005/10/28/Com mentary/Dangerous.Culture. Of.Debt.Must.Be.Avoided1038015.shtml?norewrite&sourcedomain=www.dailycampus.com This article advises If you dont have the money, dont buy it. Interview someone you know and ask about their use of credit cards. How do they use them? Do they buy things just because they want them? Do they spend money to have things because other people they know have them? Or, are their purch ases necessary -a matte r of survival (food, dr. bills, etc)? Does the advice in the article, if you dont have the money, dont buy it, apply to their situation? How does their culture influence their use (or not) of credit cards? IMPORTANT: financial decisions ar e very personal so, please, DO NOT reveal the identity of the person/s you interview. Remember, you should report what THEY tell you, not just what you think. Marriage and Culture Interview someone you know who is ma rried and ask them to tell you about their wedding. What traditional customs involved in the ceremony? What did the customs mean according to your in terviewee? Did they blend cultural traditions, or create their own ceremony? Your assignment is to tell us how their wedding was influenced by their culture. (Review the definition of culture in the text remember it also involves politics, economics and institutions.)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Linda J. Hose received her BS in E nvironmental Science and Policy at the University of South Florida in 1999, and her MA in Womens Studies at the University of South Florida in 2001. Prior to entering th e Ph.D. program in Applied Anthropology at USF in 1993, she held notable positions in the non-profit social serv ices sector for over 20 years. Linda was awarded the Southwest Florida Water Management District Award for Environmental Excellence in 1999, and r eceived the Provosts Commendation for Outstanding Teaching by a Graduate Teaching Assistant in 2005. She has made numerous presentations to both professiona l and community associations, and holds membership in the American Association of Anthropology (AAA) and the Society for Applied anthropology (SfAA). Dr. Hoses primary residence is in Ta mpa, Florida. She has been teaching anthropology courses online since 2000, and cu rrently works as an adjunct for USF and Central Florida Community College.
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Hose, Linda J.
The pedagogy and politics of online education in anthropology
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by Linda J. Hose.
[Tampa, Fla] :
b University of South Florida,
ABSTRACT: This dissertation reports on the key findings of an exploratory study of online education in anthropology. The study was designed to collect information on the extent and types of online offerings at four-year and above degree-granting public institutions in the US. It was also designed to report on the teaching strategies and methods that anthropologists employ online, and to inquire into the conditions and institutional structures that encourage or discourage the development of online education in anthropology. Recent growth in online education has been explosive in many disciplines, but little is known about anthropology's participation in the trend, or lack thereof. An exploratory research design was used to examine this little-understood topic. Because participation in online education relies upon collaboration within departments, the perspectives of both department chairs and online instructors were collected.^ ^Both qualitative and quantitative research methods were used to gather these perspectives. In particular, an online survey of department chairs and semi-structured e-mail interviews with online instructors were conducted. The research findings indicate that the participation of anthropology departments in online education is fairly low, and plans for future growth are limited. The findings also show that the primary barrier to online education is a lack of faculty interest or technical expertise, although concerns surrounding the efficacy of online pedagogy and increased workloads appear to limit its growth as well.^ ^Significant differences of opinion between online instructors and department chairs regarding the efficacy of online pedagogy were revealed, but there was general agreement that online education is an important educational resource for nontraditional students.The contrasting, and sometimes conflicting, perspectives that the research revealed point to a need for a conversation about online education in anthropology departments, whether or not they have plans to participate in the larger trend. In the concluding chapter, these divergent views inform a framework for conducting such a conversation. Finally, the research findings are applied to an outline for the development of a department-specific "best practices" guide to online teaching and course design in departments that wish to initiate or increase their participation in online education.
Dissertation (Ph.D.)--University of South Florida, 2007.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic dissertation) in PDF format.
System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains 187 pages.
Adviser: Elizabeth Bird, Ph.D.
Online course design.
x Applied Anthropolocy
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.