Mount Vernon Nazarene University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Pages: 417-424
ISBN: 978-84-614-2439-9
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 15-17 November, 2010
Location: Madrid, Spain
Performance based online learning activities are described and analyzed with a focus on shared power. The graduate course, Curriculum Integration, explores the political, theoretical, historical, and philosophical perspectives of curriculum integration grounded in the concept of democratic education curriculum design (Beane, 2005). The course focuses on choosing, teaching, living, and reclaiming the democratic way of teaching with a design element of shared power between graduate students and the course instructor for the purpose of modeling democratic education. The hope is the graduate students will then practice democratic education with their young (K-3) students.

The course objectives include the ability for graduate students to:
1. Think about what democracy means in the field of education by identifying and applying key aspects of the concept to their professional practice.
2. Analyze their current school environment for democratic actions thus examining the difficulties and challenges to the successful implementation of integrated curriculum.
3. Apply democratic practice to their classroom and teaching praxis.
4. Assess personal professional practice as it relates to democratic teaching with a focus on shared power.

The course assignments are grounded in the objectives but are subject to alteration if the student wishes to negotiate changes with the instructor. Even without student initiated modification, the established assignments allow for student choice, student voice, and shared power. These assignments, and the resulting products, are analyzed.
It might be thought that an online course needs to be rigidly structured and standardized. Student products and the final course evaluation demonstrate the reality that online courses can be flexible. The grading rubrics are broad enough to allow for students to negotiate assignments, thus sharing the power for learning and assessment as a component of online classroom management. This course increases graduate students’ attitudes regarding sharing power with their students because it is modeled through the online course. Graduate students learn to value democratic curriculum and practice the tenets of democracy in their teaching of young children.
Democratic education, shared power, online course, class management.