Salmon’s ‘5 Stage Model’ (2000; 2003) has become the go-to scaffolding to support online learners through their courses. Aligned with constructivist pedagogy it proposes socialisation, interaction, and alignment to close the gap between teacher and student, technology and people, outcomes and assessment. But is the model enough? Research shows that attrition rates continue to be much higher for online learners than those in face-to-face or blended contexts (Bawa, 2016). Evidence suggests that whilst online provision gives more access to education, once inside the digital space those learners can find that they are in fact more disadvantaged and that achievement gaps are widened (Moore & Greenland, 2016; Kizalic & Halwala, 2015). Furthermore, we are at risk of devaluing the practice of teaching online when faced with ridged scaffolding, over-used in production-line course development, and detailed instructional activities that leave little room for curiosity, compassion and work alongside students. We need a scaffolding that addresses the reasons students struggle online, and reasserts the valuable work of teachers. A scaffolding that introduces criticality into an environment that is increasingly becoming more dependent on the technologies our institutions employ rather than the practice of being human (Stommel & Morris: 2018).
The KARE (Kind, Accessible, Respectful, Ethical) scaffold is being designed to provide a new approach to support contemporary online education. It aligns with a range of pedagogical approaches, but asks us to step back from the content, assessments and outcomes and look specifically at being in the digital space, to inquire how we can be more present online. It seeks to address questions such as:
• How do we bring our digital campus’ to life?
• How do we design an educational experience that is more than the content that we load into the VLE?
• How do we help teachers and learners to become aware of who they can be in the digital space with trust and empathy for each other?
This session will introduce the KARE scaffold, and present the work being undertaken at a fully online University to implement the scaffold in its redesign of digital education provision. It is a response to feedback obtained through the National Student Survey, focus groups, and an analysis of attrition data. With KARE we aspire to become more than mediators of technology, reaching through the screen to engage in an educational experience that is holistic, participatory and meaningful.
Bawa, P. (2016) Retention in Online Courses: Exploring Issues and Solutions—A Literature Review. SAGE Open. Volume: 6 issue: 1. Available online: https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244015621777 (Accessed 11 March 2019).
Kizilcec, F., & Halawa,S. (2015). Attrition and Achievement Gaps in Online Learning. In Proceedings of the Second (2015) ACM Conference on Learning @ Scale (L@S ’15). ACM, New York: ACM, [57-66].
Moore, C., & Greenland, S. (2017). Employment-driven online student attrition and the assessment policy divide: An Australian open-access higher education perspective. Journal of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning, 21(1), [52–62.].
Morris, S., & Stommel, J. (2018) An Urgency of Teachers: the work of critical digital pedagogy. Available at: https://urgencyofteachers.com/ (Accessed 11 March 2019).
Salmon G. (2000) E-moderating: the key to teaching and learning online. London: Kogan Page.
Salmon G. (2003) E-moderating (2nd edn) London: Routledge Falmer.