Experiences of female students completing a full-time aboriginal program by computer-mediated communication
Johnston, Theresa Lorraine
Master of Education
SubjectComputer-assisted instruction evaluation
Indians of North America education
Computer-assisted instruction case studies
MetadataShow full item record
This naturalistic inquiry examines the experiences of female Aboriginal students who were completing a full-time college program by computer-mediated communication (CMC). The college program was designed for the preparation of Aboriginal Teacher Assistants. The background literature examines the work of previous scholars on listening to women’s voices, connected learning, appropriate technology for Aboriginal learners and the use of computer-mediated communication in meeting learners’ needs. Eight students volunteered to participate in the study. Two were lost through attrition. Data were collected through two sets of face-to-face interviews, one set of telephone interviews, field notes and observation of online messages posted by the participants. Participant profiles were created from the participants’ own words, and the data were analysed for emergent themes. Three themes were identified. These included demographics, prior educational experiences and learning preferences. The analyses of the interrelationships resulted in the identification of barriers to positive post secondary educational learning experiences and to the participants’ concepts of themselves as learners. The participants’ experiences in the Aboriginal Teacher Assistant Program were then examined in relationship to these barriers. The participants’ successfully completed this full-time college program and reported positive experiences in doing so. Through the analyses of their experiences, factors that led to the participants’ success were identified. It was determined that for these women to be successful, not only must education must be community-based, flexible, and holistic but also foster and nurture relationships between and among students and instructor. These factors were supported by the CMC method o f delivery. Implications include providing (1) appropriate technologies, (2) multiple ways of connecting and interacting and (3) face-to-face components when delivering Aboriginal programs to women at a distance. It also is important that we identify the characteristics of teachers who are respectful to Aboriginal values and who are successful in creating interpersonal connectedness through computer-mediated communicative alternatives.