Week 2: Personas and Cultural Diversity

I’m the lead on a project at work: identifying Quality evaluation instruments for online and blended courses. Each instrument is a complex rubric with categories and 50+ standards to identify whether a course passes a grade to be considered good enough quality for launch. The instruments share many similar standards, since they all are informed from the same teaching methodologies, research and from each other, but some have unique standards. One for instance takes into account teaching, where as all the others only consider design.

Another ID is working on Diversity and Inclusivity training. And she asked me, this week if any of the instruments take into account diverse cultures. I shook my head in response. No, they don’t. So for the past two days I’ve been reading about the implications of culture in online courses.

It struck me that one way to consider diverse cultures in design is to create personas. From the papers I’ve been reading there are qualitative and quantitative studies that indicate national and ethic preferences in online courses.

Design reflects and reinforces culture and culture informs design.

After reading papers that present qualitative and quantitative studies that identify that there are national cultural and gender preferences in online courses.

It struck me that our design and teaching methodologies are biased in favour of western cultures.

So, for example, Canadians, Americans and Australians of European descent prefer individualistic work, even while working in groups, prefer peer-to-peer discussion and peer feedback, are quick to post discussions and see it as social, can provide critical feedback, value engagement with their instructor but treat their instructor as an equal and not an authority figure, and enjoy online interactions and don’t miss face-to-face contact with their peers or instructor.


About jhounslow

Soccer enthusiast, cyclist, web developer, e-learning professional, educator, husband to a graduate student, and father of four daughters.
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