The Power of Pedagogy: Political Distance in the Global Classroom
Now that distance education program instructors and administrators have begun utilizing networked computer technology, many programs have evolved beyond the traditional "correspondence class" and video-lecture paradigms. But a new focus on active student participation in shared knowledge creation (Mason and Kaye, Star), particularly in distance education courses of a global nature, heightens the importance that directors and instructors of distance education courses consider the political ramifications of the administrative and pedagogical choices they make. In my work toward developing a distance education compliment to our current exchange program with St. Petersburg Russia's Institute of Science and Technology (through the Georgia Institute of Technology), I have encountered the usual, but daunting considerations in program development:sstudents' ability to access functioning equipment, difficulties created by language and cultural barriers, and students' adaptation to unfamiliar educational paradigms (see also Evans and Nation). But, in the same way that Slaton, Selfe, and others have considered the effect of the power of the form of presentation forum in heightening or diminishing authority, and Foucault questioned the effect of the "Panopticon" on learning environments, deeper thought regarding the nature of global distance education leads to consideration of the political power of pedagogical choices made when teaching globally oriented distance education courses. I propose to illustrate how application of differing pedagogical choices can influence the development of ideology in networked computer classrooms. By using theoretical models of pedagogical-ideological relationships as a means for examination of possible political outcomes in the classroom, I will then demonstrate how a consistent relationship between pedagogy and ideology can support intended learning outcomes, while an ill-considered match can undermine both pedagogical and political goals. I will conclude with a short overview of Georgia Tech's distance education program for St. Petersburg's Institute of Science and Technology and an accounting of information gathered through the learning process of developing the program.
Evans, Terry, and Daryl Nation, eds._Opening Education. London: Routeledge, 1996.
Mason, Robin, and Anthony Kaye, eds. Mindweave. Oxford: Pergamon, 1989.
Star, Susan Liegh, ed. The Cultures of Computing. Oxford: Blackwell, 1995.
Author: TyAnna K. Herrington
Target Audience: Not Applicable
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