Ideologies in Online Learning Environments: The Need for Multiple Stories

Sibylle Gruber
Northern Arizona University


This article uses the concept of the “single story” to address specific student stories in an online class environment. First, it discusses the known story of online students who engage in critical and analytical thinking while interacting with their peers and instructor. It then moves to another story that we often do not hear, namely the story of the student who engages in disruptive behavior that threatened the equilibrium of the classroom by injecting anger, fear, and mistrust of each other into an otherwise successful and highly acceptable online experience for students and the teacher. The article shows that we need to focus closely on how we apply learner-centered pedagogies to make sure that we foster multiple stories in our discussions of online teaching to make sure that our need for power does not limit our understanding of our own humanity and the humanity of those who we objectify—or those who we subject to the single story we created about them.

About the Author(s)...

Sibylle Gruber is currently a professor of Rhetoric, Writing, and Digital Media Studies at Northern Arizona University, with research and teaching interests in how cultural identities influence cultural self-perception and other-perception in online environments. She currently teaches online courses at Northern Arizona University in rhetoric, writing, and digital media studies.

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