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Finding Voices: Authentic learning online in the field of public communication and citizenship

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Author(s): Kristin Demetrious

Journal: PRism Online PR Journal
ISSN 1448-4404

Volume: 2;
Issue: 1;
Date: 2004;
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Keywords: public relations | public relations teaching | education | pedagogy | online public relations | online teaching | online learning

ABSTRACT
The virtual classroom, an online ‘open space’ with innumerable possibilities, offers an opportunity to integrate conventional educational resources and pedagogy with technology in a reacculturation of both teachers and students. This paper reports on a case of authentic, experiential and constructivist learning developed for tertiary students of public communication and citizenship. The course of study asks students to examine the problematic and contentious areas of self-interest, persuasion, power and ethics in contemporary contexts of mass media and globalisation. Using this example, this paper shows how online teaching strategies have integrated with the total learning environment to achieve higher order learning in this field beyond just ‘skilling for jobs’. The paper looks particularly at divergent ways the online environment makes students think analytically and critically in experiential and group learning situations, and examines how some unique attributes of the online environment can help different student groups, like international and off-campus students, to achieve a more effective and democratic learning experience.
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