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Journal Article

Mediating Diversity and Affection in Blended Learning: a Story With a Happy Ending  pp310-319

Dina Soeiro, António Dias de Figueiredo, Joaquim Armando Gomes Ferreira

© Aug 2012 Volume 10 Issue 3, Special ECEL issue, Editor: Sue Greener and Asher Rospigliosi, pp257 - 379

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Abstract

We had an Interpersonal Relationships course, a large class, around fifty students, working collaboratively in groups where students from different degrees, academic years, and ages, most of them deaf, tried, and to some extent were able, to communicate. We analyze this example of how diversity can be an asset and how learning management systems can act as mediators to overcome the challenges of diversity and the barriers of emotional isolation. We were carrying out a participatory action research project, within a blended learning environment supported by Moodle, to develop collaborative and personal pedagogical strategies to improve the inclusion and engagement of higher education students in their own learning and evaluation. We were using content analysis of the online discussions held by the students, of the reflective descriptions of the classes, of the students’ e‑portfolios, and of the interviews with the students. The paper describes how, in the context of this project, we have discovered that a learning management systems can be a powerful mediator in promoting the inclusion of deaf students and in establishing emotional bridges across gaps that face‑to‑face environments are sometimes unable to span.

 

Keywords: affection, blended-learning, deaf students, diversity, higher education, inclusion, participation

 

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