Inquiry-based instruction in online courses: Re-envisioning online learning through poetic frameworks
Phan, Thanh Thi Ngoc
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A large body of research (Journell, 2012; Allen & Seaman, 2014) indicates that enrollment in online courses has been increasing. Although online learning venues are effective means for communicating content(Harasim, 1996; Anderson, 2008; Moore & Kearsley, 2011), little has been researched on whether or not this educational medium effectively teaches what Dewey termed as “the whole self". The purpose for this qualitative research study involved exploring instructors' and student's perceptions of the implementation of inquiry-based instruction in online courses, in regard to how the inclusion of inquiry-based learning within online venues promoted students’ learning with the whole self (i.e. student's holistic learning.) In addition, this study examined what the construction and implementation of a curriculum and instruction poetry framework might reveal about holistic online instruction when used for evaluation purposes. The study was framed by four research questions: 1) What are instructors’ and students’ perceptions of the use and effectiveness of inquiry-based strategies within online courses? 2) In what ways (if any) do inquiry-based instructional strategies within online courses inform and meet students’ affective and academic needs? 3) In what ways (if any) do inquiry-based instructional strategies within online courses inform students’ self-discovery or promote self-expression? 4) What insights can be gleaned from using “the curriculum and instruction as poetry framework” as a lens for examining online instruction—and inquiry strategies, in particular—regarding the improvement of online instruction? Findings showed that participants expressed positive feelings about the use and effectiveness of inquiry-based instruction in their online courses. The curriculum and instruction poetic framework provided a fresh lens for evaluating the effectiveness of inquiry-based strategies by including holistic criteria that allowed for a snapshot of student growth, rather than reducing evaluative feedback solely to numerically described outcomes or scores.