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The pedagogical methods in Figure 6 give a picture of how each instructor taught. The teaching methods are divided into two types: teacher centered and student centered. Teacher centered methods, such as lecture, presentation, and demonstration, are used by the instructor to present information to students. Large class discussions are considered teacher centered when the instructor asks questions of the class in general to lead them to a specific right answer. Multiple choice tests require the student to choose the correct answer from a short selection of possible answers. These methods provide little opportunity for the students to express their ideas and demonstrate that they have integrated the information into their practice. In Bloom’s taxonomy of learning, this kind of transaction is at the lowest level, Knowledge (1984).

Learning theorists, such as Bloom and Vygotsky, discuss a higher level of learning that indicates that the student has synthesized the knowledge, and is able to use it in new situations to solve new problems. Situated learning theory also supports the idea that student-centered teaching methods lead to better integration of knowledge ( Lave&Wenger, 1991 ). Bloom referred to this stage of knowledge acquisition as high order thinking, or critical thinking. Vygotsky’s theory of constructivism concerns the interaction between two people in which one helps the other to understand something by providing just the right scaffolding, or assistance, at the right time, to help a student solve a problem she or he was unable to solve completely on their own. This takes place in social interactions between a student and an instructor, or between two students.

Learning theorists also consider learning styles as an important aspect of teaching. Howard Gardener’s theory of multiple intelligences (1997) leads to the idea of using a wide variety of teaching methods in order to reach more students. Therefore, it is good pedagogy to use multiple methods. The instructor who used the greatest number of instructional methods was Miller, who taught a hybrid course. Of the face-to-face instructors, Laura used the greatest variety of teaching methods, followed by Neal. Of the online instructors, Ken used the greater number of teaching methods.

Overall, the instructors who used the greatest number of student-centered methods were Ken, Miller, Ed, and Laura. Each of these instructors believed that a high level of interaction with the students and among the students was important to learning.

Instructors as technology experts

Another issue that confronted the instructors was that the students turned to them as the technology experts. Most of the students went directly to the instructor for technology troubleshooting, which added significantly to the instructors’ duties. Most of the instructors, however, had not developed a high level of expertise with the software, and did not have a repertoire of techniques to draw from when faced with technology problems. This unexpected demand from the students increased their teaching load, and caused one instructor to abandon Online Day halfway through the semester.

Questions & Answers

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Source:  OpenStax, Faculty use of courseware to teach counseling theories. OpenStax CNX. Oct 14, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11130/1.1
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