SILENT PEDAGOGIES IN POLYSYNCHRONOUS LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS

W. Muirhead, L. Robertson

University of Ontario Institute of Technology (CANADA)
The University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), founded in 2002, was the first new university in Ontario, Canada in over 40 years. Located in Oshawa, Ontario, the university was founded to address a shortage of highly qualified personnel in areas of health sciences, engineering, science, educators with technological skills, and management and information technology disciplines. Since its first class in 2003, the university has grown to include more than 10,000 undergraduate students, and 750 graduate students in a variety of programs including: 17 Master’s programs, 8 PhD programs and 49 undergraduate programs.

A founding feature of UOIT was the development and implementation of a Technology Enriched Learning Environment (TELE). This program was fundamental to the development and design of the university. The TELE program embraced the use of information and communication technology (ICT) in all aspects of teaching and learning as well as incorporation into program design, course outcomes, and curriculum development.

One of the central outcomes of the TELE program has been the development of new teaching and learning practices that build upon the rich technological infrastructure of hardware, software, and ubiquitous connectivity on and off campus. One emerging practice within the Faculty of Education has been the evolution of online teaching to embrace synchronous online learning. Best characterized as polysynchronous learning environments (PLE), synchronous online learning is characterized as a blend of face-to-face pedagogies, and traditional online course approaches which employ emergent synchronous technologies in order replicate the flexibility of online delivery methods while incorporating the rich elements of the university seminar. Faculty beginning the journey from the classroom to online teaching and now synchronous online programs employ a number of strategies and choices we characterize as pedagogy which is virtually invisible to the students. Invisible pedagogies are those deliberately-intentional practices, based on experience, beliefs and attitudes, which guide the particular choices made by faculty when designing online courses. Considerations about planning, assessing, and teaching are influenced by personal histories and individual perspectives. This paper is an attempt to make more visible the silent pedagogies of faculty teaching in a synchronous graduate program and to propose a model that allows faculty to better understand their choices when preparing to teach in similar polysynchronous environments.

This presentation addresses the notion of polysychronsity in graduate courses from two faculty members’ perspectives and will propose a schema to examine the invisible, intentional pedagogy of faculty.