23-3 “Technology and Culture” Resource Guide

Feb 9th, 2012 | By | Category: 23-3: Technology and Culture, Online resource guides, Resource Guides, Web Exclusive

Online Pedagogy: Advantages, Disadvantages, and Best Practices

By Ahmed Al-Asfour

Although more and more tribal colleges and mainstream universities are providing online courses, the literature remains sparse. Hopefully, this issue of Tribal College Journal will spark a discussion on the topic, and the body of literature will continue to grow. Because the majority of reservations are in rural areas and districts are far from each other, many tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) find it difficult to provide education to their communities. By using e-learning, this problem could be mitigated or eliminated completely.

The Journal of Distance Education, the Journal of Research in Rural Education, the McGill Journal of Education, and several other peer-reviewed journals can provide educators and administers enough information to develop their own virtual campus. As the saying goes “there is no one size fits all,” so each TCU needs to develop its own model of providing education to its stakeholders.

Editor’s Note:

In 1999, Tribal College Journal dedicated its spring issue to “Distance Education” (Vol. 10, No. 3).  Articles in that issue include: “Designing the tribal virtual college of tomorrow,” by Thomas Davis and Martha McLeod; “Emphasizing the human being in distance education,” by Deborah Wetsis, Ed.D.; “Virtual ridge runners scout websites,” by Lester R. Johnson, III and Johnel R. Tailfeathers; “North Dakota spiritual leaders give guidance for distance learning,” by Carol Davis; and “Educating the Native student,” by Marjane Ambler.

Vol. 10, No. 3 can be found in the magazine’s online archives at: http://www.tribalcollegejournal.org/themag/backissues/spring99/spring99.html

That issue’s resource guide, compiled by John Ereaux, can also be found online at:


To join the discussion and add your own resources to the current resource guide, add a comment below, write a Letter to the  Editor, or find us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tribal-College-Journal/93097475627

Suggested Reading Articles

Sanchez, J., Stuckey, M., & Morris, R. (1998). Distance learning in Indian country: Becoming the spider on the web. Journal of American Indian Education, 37(3), 1-17.

This article discusses the outcomes of using technology in American Indian educational systems throughout the Indian country. In addition, it discusses the history of using distance education in American Indian colleges and universities. Distance education technologies can be utilized as a means “frustrating the ends of assimilation” (p.1). Even though the authors of this article believe that using distance education can be beneficial to promote tribal cultures, it can threaten the integrity of tribal communities. Hence, the authors say that “such education be tribally controlled” (p.6).

Al-Asfour, A., & Bryant, C. (2011). Perceptions of Lakota Native American students taking online business course at Oglala Lakota College (OLC). American Journal of Business Education, 4(11), 43-50.

The authors conducted this study at a tribal college. The research examined the perceptions of American Indian students who were taking an online course. The themes found in this study were flexibility, transportation, communication, and technical support. In addition, this study discusses the advantages and disadvantages facing students when taking online courses.

Bobak, R., Cassarino, C., & Finley, C. (2004). Three issues in distance learning. Distance Learning, 1(5), 15-18. Retrieved from Research Library. (Document ID: 809428411).

The researchers in this article discuss three specific issues in distance learning: the digital divide, academic dishonesty, and transactional distance learning theory. In addition, the authors recommend how to reduce or embrace the challenges students encounter in distance learning.

Grandzonl, J., & Grandzol, C. (2006). Best practices for online business education. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 7(1).

The authors provide information for the best educational practices for online business courses. Their review of the literature provides helpful knowledge for business schools seeking optimal online course designs. The study emphasizes consistency, cohesiveness, and assessment.

Pan, W., & Singh, P. (2004). Online education: Lessons for administrators and instructors. College Student Journal, 38(2), 302-308.

This article discusses online education across North America based on personal experiences by two instructors. The knowledge that is shared in the study is based on teaching business online courses. The authors examine the role of online education, its advantages and disadvantages, best practices, methods of delivery, and possible ways to improve the effectiveness of teaching instruments.

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