University of Phoenix (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2016 Proceedings
Publication year: 2016
Pages: 142-145
ISBN: 978-84-608-5617-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2016.1022
Conference name: 10th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2016
Location: Valencia, Spain
The landscape of the virtual classroom is changing in America. Increasingly, the student population includes active military and veterans. These students have special needs. For some, those needs include help in assimilating back into civilian life and adjusting to how civilian students learn. For others, there are additional needs, those that come from dealing with service-related conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). However, the best way to address those needs is not to isolate these students, but to use what they need to help not only them succeed, but their civilian counterparts as well, while also being understanding of the military experience. This virtual presentation is on how this approach has been implemented in the virtual classroom at the University of Phoenix.

By adding some military classroom techniques plus visual and memory aids, the online classroom can become a stronger learning environment. For example, “Show, then Do” is a technique used by the military in which the students see a successful attempt at a project before learning to do it themselves. This type of modeling can be done in the virtual classroom, such as showing what a completed research project looks like before students start on their own. Also, the military uses a form of checklist to make sure that no task in a project is missed and that it is done completely. Checklists can help all students to keep on track when executing newly learned tasks. Visual and memory aids which will help those with PTSD or TBI can also help students who are more visual learners or just need help with remembering new material.

However, there will be some times when the military learner will need more understanding and some leeway in completing assignments. Active duty personnel have unpredictable schedules that may require occasional flexibility with assignment deadlines. Also, some active duty personnel and veterans do not share the experiences of their civilian counterparts which may leave them in the lurch when addressing certain paper topics. For example, an English class essay on parenting or dealing with children may be difficult for a serviceman or woman who has spent a year or more deployed away from his or her family. Some latitude needs to be given to help these students. Still, the conclusion is that an understanding and inclusive classroom is an environment in which all students can succeed.