Student Perceptions of Reflective Practice in Online Reading Courses Concept Paper Submitted to Northcentral University Graduate Faculty of the Department of Education in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY by ALEXA J…
Reflective thinking is analyzing current patterns of thinking in order to change and grow (Gutek, 2004). It means critically thinking and analyzing about learning. Reflective practice in education focuses on developing the students’ minds with regards to critical analysis and autonomous learning (Gutek, 2004). This concepts entails the view that when students peruse their work and reflect on it, it will lead to greater learning and critical thinking skills (The Higher Education Academy, 2010). Self and peer assessment, group work, personal development, and problem solving are techniques utilized in reflective practice. Reflective practice with regards to teachers is also an important concept, as instructors can improve teaching methods and improve effectiveness (The Higher Education Academy, 2010). The critical reflection of a person’s own work improves significance (Armstrong, 2000; Bain, Ballantyne, Packer, & Mills, 2002; Laskey & Hetzel, 2010; Schon, 1983, 1987; Wagner, 2006). Activities that are used to foster reflection have been used to help students discover themselves in the context of life in a more meaningful and practical way (Laskey & Hetzel, 2010). Researchers, for this reason, have suggested the use of reflective practice in an online environment (Logreco, 2008; Sivyer, 2007; Wagner, 2006). However, the examination of student perceptions of reflective practice in an online learning environment has been researched by different academics focusing on reflective writing (Palmer, 2008; Wright, 2010). Reflective learning is a major tool used in experiential learning (Guthrie, 2010). In order for students to use experiential learning, teachers and instructors are encouraged to use critical thinking techniques. When media, such as the internet are used, these instructional techniques can be put to greater use by addressing a group of diverse students. With the advent of technological tools, such as the Internet, it is vital that instructors use tools that are current and relevant and make the most use of these developments (Held, 2009). In 2009, Allen and Seaman in their survey report of 2500 United States institutions reported a double digit growth for online enrollment in post secondary schooling. This shows that students have clearly started to prefer online educational methods to a great extent. Due to the increases popularity of online courses, it has become vital that online courses be assessed for their effectiveness. However, the focus of this paper is the use of reflective practice in online education and how students perceive its effectiveness. Reflective practice is a pedagogical tool that develops a higher level of thinking and enables students to learn from experience (Guthrie, 2010). Reflection in education focuses on preparing students to become problem solvers and idea generators, and not just rote learners (Held, 2009). Many scholars have advocated reflective practice in traditional classroom settings (Dewey, 1933; Schon, 1983; Laskey and Hetzel, 2010). However as online education is relatively a new phenomenon, it has been a source of debate with high number of dropouts in ...
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