POSITIVE SOCIAL CHANGE Post your response to the following: You just won the Online Educator of the Year award! Write a 300-word acceptance speech for th

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Post your response to the following:

You just won the Online Educator of the Year award! Write a  300-word acceptance speech for this prestigious honor. In your speech  address:

1-The qualities that made you such a successful leader in the  online classroom (Who can you thank for helping you to learn and  cultivate these qualities?

2-How you feel that online learning contributes to positive social  change (Consider access to education, global creative problem solving,  connecting diverse perspectives, geographically agnostic learning, and  serving students with mobility challenges, communication challenges, or  learning differences¬.)


Thank you so much for this honor, I am truly blessed to receive this  award. Teaching has been a passion of mine since I was a little girl,  and my dream was to become a college professor. When I branched into the  teaching scene, I was looking for a school that believed in giving back  to the community, understanding the importance of culture in the  classroom, and the ability to relate real world issues and successes  within in the classroom.

When I was a student, I had several professors who brought culture  and diversity into the classroom and connected it to the course  material. I loved learning how the material was relevant to social  society and how I could use that information to make a difference.  Having professors who truly cared how the students were going to be able  to use the course material in their lives outside of school, is why I  wanted to become the type of teacher I am today.

When I started my search for the school I wanted to teach for,  Walden University (2016) stood out because they, “consider their self a  learning organization and believes that quality and integrity are the  cornerstone of all academic processes” (p.22). Integrity is a highlight  in my courses because I believe students cannot be successful if their  professor and themselves are not honest with their course work and  having a standard of high moral principles to do the right thing.

Online learning contributes to a positive social change, and I am  thrilled to consider myself part of the online learning community.  Online learning is about being able to reach a diverse group of students  across the world and Walden University (2016), “fosters social change  through education of scholar-practitioners, increasing access to higher  education, and applying research to helping solve problems in the world”  (p.6). Learning through the online platform allows an increase of  access to higher education for those who cannot attend in-person, or if  there is a certain degree a student wishes to achieve, and a local  school does not offer it. With the increase of higher education access,  it also increases diverse perspectives within the classroom. It is an  incredible feeling as an online educator to be able to teach a diverse  group of students; I find this contributes to the overall success of the  course because it adds value and additional insight into the course  material.

As an online educator I understand that students may have  communication challenges, mobility challenges, and/or learning  differences as they could have in-person learning as well, but knowing  these challenges I am, “sensitive to the various learning styles and  particularly the way I assess student’s performance” (Katz, 2020, p.5). I  like to reach out to all of my students on the first day and have a  private conversation with them and ask them is they have any learning  difficulties I should be made aware of, and then we can discuss how we  can work through them to make sure the student is able learn the course  material and perform to their best ability.

Again, I want to thank you so much for this honor, I am truly humbled.



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Distance Education

ISSN: 0158-7919 (Print) 1475-0198 (Online) Journal homepage: https://www.tandfonline.com/loi/cdie20

Using TPCK as a scaffold to self-assess the novice
online teaching experience

Jolie Kennedy

To cite this article: Jolie Kennedy (2015) Using TPCK as a scaffold to self-assess
the novice online teaching experience, Distance Education, 36:1, 148-154, DOI:

To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/01587919.2015.1019964

Published online: 18 Mar 2015.

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Using TPCK as a scaffold to self-assess the novice online teaching

Jolie Kennedy*

Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA

(Received 21 May 2014; final version received 12 February 2015)

How does one evaluate one’s own online teaching? Do novice online instructors
depend on end-of-semester course evaluations or a Quality Matters rubric?
Perhaps their professional development is driven by a personal belief that
seeking multiple perspectives from different lenses is core to reflective practice.
This work explores one way to interrogate one’s own online teaching practices
through a systematic reflection on technological pedagogical content knowledge
(TPCK). It involved identifying and reflecting upon instances in which TPCK
was evident in the design and facilitation of the online learning environment in
an undergraduate online course. Ways to improve online teaching based on
increased meta-cognitive awareness of TPCK are considered. Implications of this
self-study for distance learning professional development are discussed.

Keywords: technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPCK); distance
learning; reflexive practitioner inquiry; self-study; higher education


Self-studies as a genre of action research can provide insightful and impactful
findings (Richardson, 1996) that may be transferable to teacher education and
professional development. With the growth of online programs, a teacher’s ability to
self-assess will be important for improvements in online teaching practices. The goal
of this endeavour was to improve online teaching and learning for my own practice
and to improve the learning experience for the online students in my courses. Sec-
ondarily, the goal was to experiment with the use of technological pedagogical con-
tent knowledge (TPCK) as an instrument to inform critically reflective teaching
practices for novice online teachers. Thirdly, the goal was to contribute to the TPCK
knowledge base as applied to distance learning.

Schön (1987) has advocated for examining the meaning of actions in order to
provide explicit explanations for implicit decisions. Tangible data from a self-
assessment can be used for evidence-based decision-making about online teaching
practices and for basing self-efficacy judgments of teaching competence (Tschannen-
Moran, Hoy, & Hoy, 1998). Tennyson (1994), in the seminal debate about media
and methods, stated that media is “embedded in a complex association with instruc-
tional methods, learner variables, content, context, and risk” (p. 27). These are the
elements at play in a dynamic online learning environment. When Doering,

*Email: kenn0158@umn.edu

© 2015 Open and Distance Learning Association of Australia, Inc.

Distance Education, 2015
Vol. 36, No. 1, 148–154, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01587919.2015.1019964

Veletsianos, Scharber, and Miller (2009) explored TPCK to design online learning
environments, they discovered that “teachers perceive their TPACK as being a
dynamic and malleable phenomenon” (p. 330). The knowledge constructs in TPCK
(technology, pedagogy, and content) provide guidance to systematically reflect on
the dynamic activity in an online course.

Online instructors come to a new online teaching opportunity with varied TPCK,
a concept originating from Shulman’s (1986) notion of pedagogical content knowl-
edge (PCK). Mishra and Koehler (2006) popularized the TPCK framework, which
“emphasizes the connections, interactions, affordances, and constraints between and
among content, pedagogy, and technology” (p. 1025). In this reflection, TPCK has
been used to interrogate an undergraduate online teaching experience during the
spring of 2013.

For a systematic reflection, it is essential to understand each knowledge con-
struct. Chai, Koh, and Tsai (2011) described content knowledge (CK) as knowledge
of subject matter. Pedagogical knowledge (PK) is knowledge of methods. PCK is
knowledge to adopt strategies that make content more understandable. Technology
knowledge is knowledge of technology applications and capacities. Technological
content knowledge (TCK) is knowledge to use technology to represent content.
Technological pedagogical knowledge is knowledge of technology affordances to
enable strategies. TPCK is knowledge of technology to represent content and enable

The research question for this reflective study was: How is TPCK evident in the
design and facilitation of this online course? It originated from the intention to
systematically evaluate my online teaching practices for evidence-based decision-
making about design and facilitation. It developed to include the value of adding to
the corpus about TPCK in online learning and professional development.

Approach to analysis

Course artifacts served as rich data sources. These included the syllabus, course
schedule, Ning environment, lesson agendas, videos, content material, major assign-
ments, tutorials, critical incident questionnaires (Brookfield, 1998), and e-mail corre-
spondence. After reviewing instruments designed to measure TPCK (Archambault
& Crippen, 2009; Chai et al., 2011; Doering et al., 2009; Koehler & Mishra, 2005;
Schmidt et al., 2009), the instrument developed by Archambault and Crippen (2009)
was chosen because the items are accessible for novice online instructors. The sur-
vey items guided the systematic analysis of TPCK. (See Appendix 1 for a TPCK
self-assessment that you can use to estimate areas for improvement in your own
online teaching practices.) Each knowledge domain was systematically examined
beginning with CK and concluding with TPCK knowledge. For the analysis process,
an Excel spreadsheet was used for documenting the alignment between course goals,
lesson topics, content material, and institutional criteria.

About the course

Each lesson agenda in this course was designed with I CARE (Hoffman & Ritchie,
1998). The agenda included an (I) introduction to the topic, (C) connections to stu-
dents’ prior knowledge, (A) activities designed to immerse students in the topic, (R)
reflections, and (E) evaluations of the learning experience using a critical incident

Distance Education 149

questionnaire (Brookfield, 1998). VoiceThreads, discussion posts, Flipgrid videos,
assignments, e-mail, and Google+ Hangout video chats enhanced knowledge of lear-
ner characteristics.

Critical insights

Given the abundance of electronic data that is generated in an online learning envi-
ronment, one challenge was sifting through the data for evidence of TPCK. This
required a continual scoping to focus on the analytic statements. Through this pro-
cess, several key discoveries were made along with observations about the TPCK
framework and its application to online learning. Ways to improve the learning
experience include:

� fostering diverse philosophies and cultures within and across societies (CK);
� providing more readings and cases from multiple perspectives (CK);
� increasing consideration of future technologies (CK);
� sequencing for more explicit connections between concepts (CK);
� focusing discussion prompts more explicitly (PK);
� mapping group size to pedagogy for breadth and depth effect (PK);
� aligning discussion prompts to course goals (PCK);
� writing better discussion prompts to elicit demonstration of knowledge (PCK);
� including more follow-up in facilitation to clear up knowledge misconceptions

� moderating with intent on content, purpose, frequency, and potential influence

Based on these insights, the course content was sequenced into four sections
to more explicitly align with course goals. The lesson topics in each section were
sequenced to more clearly support a specific course goal. The discussion prompts
within each lesson topic were redesigned to more overtly align with a specific
course goal. The introduction in each weekly class agenda was revised to draw
more distinct connections between the topics in each section of the course. Strate-
gies were implemented that would foster consideration of multiple perspectives
and diverse philosophies and cultures. The number of students in the group dis-
cussions was varied for specific lessons that benefitted either from greater depth
with fewer students or greater breadth with more students. An activity was
designed to guide students in exploring and imagining future technologies. The
insights not only improved the course design, but also impacted facilitation and
online teaching self-efficacy.

Reflection and conclusion

Do seasoned online instructors have an instinct as to how well content is
sequenced? Do they instinctively know discussion prompts are aligned with course
goals and explicitly stated to elicit demonstrations of knowledge? Do expert online
teachers know when to follow up to clear misconceptions and moderate discus-
sions with intent? What is the difference between beginners and experts in terms
of the kind of scaffolding they require? Although this exercise was useful in seeing
demonstrations of TPCK knowledge and areas for improvement, the following

150 J. Kennedy

questions still remain for further research: How is online facilitation enacted in the
TPCK framework? What, if any, is the connection between the frequency of tea-
cher participation in discussions and CK? TCK is a troublesome knowledge
domain that may be more useful for eliciting a teacher’s technology philosophy
than for practical application. The tacit knowledge domains of context and learners
should be more explicit in TPCK. Considering future developments, could person-
alized teaching analytics for TPCK self-assessment have a positive impact on
novice teachers’ online practices?

The value of TPCK to the process of introspection lies in the breakdown of
knowledge domains to examine dynamic activity in context. Not only were my
own assumptions revealed, but also assumptions in TPCK and the instrument
statements. Self-study is a humbling experience in which one must be willing to
expose doubts, which as Dewey (1916/2000) believed, generated the quest for
certainties. Based on the results, a combination of using TPCK with reflexive
practitioner inquiry could be an insightful and transformational activity for novice
online teachers.

An analysis of TPCK would have seemed elusive if not for the systematic
approach afforded by isolating the knowledge domains. The exercise illustrated the
spiral, dynamic nature of TPCK when aspects of PCK surfaced in the isolated
domains of PK and CK. The limitations of this inquiry stem from the complexity of
studying a dynamic online environment in higher education with a survey instru-
ment designed for K-12. Future instruments could be improved to make knowledge
of context, learners, and facilitation more explicit while also incorporating specific
PK items relevant to distance learning in higher education. TPCK, as a construct
applied to technology integration in classrooms, must be modified when applied to
teaching in an online environment. A TPCK instrument adapted for distance learning
in higher education could make a contribution to the field, in particular by
supporting novice online teachers’ self-efficacy and scaffolding their online teaching

Notes on contributor
Jolie Kennedy specializes in learning technologies as a doctoral candidate in curriculum and
instruction at the University of Minnesota. Her research interests center on distance learning
in higher education. Her methodological expertise includes phenomenology and survey
research. She teaches undergraduate online courses and has presented her work at
international conferences.

Archambault, L., & Crippen, K. (2009). Examining TPACK among K-12 online distance

educators in the United States. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher
Education, 9, 71–88. Retrieved from http://www.citejournal.org/

Brookfield, S. (1998). Critically reflective practice. Journal of Continuing Education in the
Health Professions, 18, 197–205. doi:10.1002/chp.1340180402

Chai, C. S., Koh, J. H. L., & Tsai, C.-C. (2011). Exploring the factor structure of the
constructs of technological, pedagogical, content knowledge (TPACK). Asia-Pacific
Education Researcher (De La Salle University Manila), 20, 595–603. Retrieved from

Dewey, J. (2000). Democracy and education: An introduction to the philosophy of education.
(Original work published 1916). Retrieved from https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/852

Distance Education 151

Doering, A., Veletsianos, G., Scharber, C., & Miller, C. (2009). Using the technological,
pedagogical, and content knowledge framework to design online learning environments
and professional development. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 41,
319–346. doi:10.2190/EC.41.3.d

Hoffman, B., & Ritchie, D. (1998). Teaching and learning online: Tools, templates, and train-
ing. In S. McNeil, J. D. Price, S. Boger-Mehall, B. Robin, & J. Willis (Eds.), Proceedings
of society for information technology & teacher education international conference
(pp. 119–123). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

Koehler, M., & Mishra, P. (2005). What happens when teachers design educational technol-
ogy? The development of technological pedagogical content knowledge. Journal of
Educational Computing Research, 32, 131–152. doi:10.2190/0EW7-01WB-BKHL-QDYV

Mishra, P., Koehler, M. J. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A new
framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108, 1017–1054. Retrieved
from http://www.tcrecord.org/

Richardson, L. (1996). A sociology of responsibility. Qualitative Sociology, 19, 519–524.
Retrieved from http://link.springer.com/journal/11133

Schmidt, D. A., Baran, E., Thompson, A. D., Mishra, P., Koehler, M. J., & Shin, T. S.
(2009). Technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK): The development and
validation of an assessment instrument for preservice teachers. Journal of Research on
Technology in Education, 42, 123–149.

Schön, D. A. (1987). Educating the reflective practitioner. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Shulman, L. S. (1986). Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching. Educational

Researcher, 15, 4–14. Retrieved from http://edr.sagepub.com/
Tennyson, R. (1994). The big wrench vs. integrated approaches: The great media debate.

Educational Technology Research and Development, 42, 15–28. Retrieved form http://

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measure. Review of Educational Research, 68, 202–248. Retrieved from http://rer.sage

Appendix 1. TPCK Self-assessment (adapted from Archambault & Crippen,
2009, pp. 87–88)

Step 1. Draw a Venn diagram of TPCK

(Adapted from Mishra & Koehler, 2006, p. 1025)

152 J. Kennedy

Step 2. Content Knowledge

What is your knowledge of the subject matter?
What is your ability to…

� Create materials that map to specific course goals?
� Decide on the scope of concepts taught in the course?
� Plan the sequence of concepts taught in the course?

Rate each ability on a 4-point scale (high ability = high number). Add it up. Write it in the
Venn diagram.

Which course artifacts could you use as evidence of this ability?
Example: The syllabus, course schedule, and weekly class agendas may show evidence

of alignment of course goals, concepts, and materials, along with the range and sequence of

Step 3. Pedagogical Knowledge

What is your knowledge of methods and strategies?
What is your ability to…

� Determine a particular design strategy best suited for distance learning?
� Use a variety of teaching strategies best suited for distance learning?
� Adjust teaching methodology based on student performance and feedback?

Rate each ability on a 4-point scale (high ability = high number). Add it up. Write it in the
Venn diagram. Which course artifacts could you use as evidence of this ability?

Step 4. Technological Knowledge

What is your knowledge of technology?
What is your ability to…

� Use and demonstrate the use of hardware, software, cloud computing, and web applica-

� Troubleshoot technical issues associated with hardware, software, cloud computing, or
web applications?

� Assist students with troubleshooting their technical issues associated with hardware,
software, cloud computing, or web applications?

Rate each ability on a 4-point scale (high ability = high number). Add it up. Write it in the
Venn diagram. Which course artifacts could you use as evidence of this ability?

Step 5. Pedagogical Content Knowledge

What is your knowledge of methods for teaching this specific content in this context?
What is your ability to…

� Distinguish between correct and incorrect problem solving attempts by students?
� Anticipate likely student misconceptions within a particular topic?
� Comfortably produce lesson plans with an appreciation for the topic?
� Assist students in noticing connections between various concepts in a curriculum?

Rate each ability on a 3-point scale (high ability = high number). Add it up. Write it in the
Venn diagram. Which course artifacts could you use as evidence of this ability?

Distance Education 153

Step 6. Technological Content Knowledge

What is your knowledge of using technology to represent specific content?
What is your ability to…

� Use technological representations (i.e., multimedia, visual demonstrations) to demon-
strate specific concepts in your content area?

� Implement curriculum in an online environment?
� Use various courseware programs to deliver instruction?

Rate each ability on a 4-point scale (high ability = high number). Add it up. Write it in the
Venn diagram. Which course artifacts could you use as evidence of this ability?

Step 7. Technological Pedagogical Knowledge

What is your knowledge of technology affordances that enable methods and strategies?
What is your ability to…

� Create an online environment that allows students to build new knowledge and skills?
� Implement different methods of teaching online?
� Moderate online interactivity among students?
� Encourage online interactivity among students?

Rate each ability on a 3-point scale (high ability = high number). Add it up. Write it in the
Venn diagram. Which course artifacts could you use as evidence of this ability?

Step 8. Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge

What is your knowledge of technology affordances that enable methods for specific content?
What is your ability to…

� Use online student assessment to modify instruction?
� Use technology to anticipate students’ skill and understanding of a particular topic?
� Use technology to select or create effective representations of content that departs from

textbook knowledge?
� Meet the overall demands of online teaching?

Rate each ability on a 3-point scale (high ability = high number). Add it up. Write it in the
Venn diagram. Which course artifacts could you use as evidence of this ability?

Step 9. Review your Venn diagram

In which areas do you have the highest ratings? In which areas could you improve? What
steps could you take to make improvements?

154 J. Kennedy

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Approach to analysis
    • About the course
  • Critical insights
  • Reflection and conclusion
  • Notes on con�trib�u�tor
  • References
  • Appendix 1. TPCK Self-assessment (adapted from Archambault and Crippen, 2009, pp.’87-88)

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