Teacher‑Student Perspectives of Invisible Pedagogy: New Directions in Online Problem‑Based Learning Environments


  • Wendy Barber
  • Sherry King


Teacher Development, Online Pedagogy, Problem-Based Learning


Universities and institutions of higher education are facing economic pressures to sustain large classes, while simultaneously maintaining the quality of the online learning environment (Deming et al, 2015).. Digital learning environments require significant pedagogical shifts on the part of the teacher. This paper is a qualitative examination of the nature of teaching in the digital age, and the significant changes facing teachers in the 21C. The authors describe key features of quality distance pedagogy that were exhibited during 12 weeks of a synchronous undergraduate course held in Adobe Connect. The central research questions are 1. How can problem‑based learning pedagogy enable instructors to form smaller cohesive groups of students that take greater responsibility for their own learning? 2. What strategies can be used by teachers to develop communities of practice and inquiry? 3. How can an instructor in a large virtual class co‑create the level of social capital that is required to build and maintain the relationships that are a necessary condition for a high quality learning experience? and 4. What are the perceptions of teachers about the challenges and benefits of facilitating a high quality problem based learning environment through invisible pedagogy?The research is grounded in literature through the work of Cousins and Bissar (2012), Kaufman (2013), Badge, Saunders and Cann (2012), Flavin (2012) and McNeill, Gosper and Xu (2012). These authors examine how teachers and learners adapt to the digital age. In addition, more recent work by Bowers and Kumar (2015), Hoadley (2016), Deming et al (2015) and Gunduz et al (2016) are examined.In these digital spaces, teachers become facilitators, guides, collaborators and learners themselves, thus making traditional pedagogy virtually invisible.Further, the paper uses qualitative semi‑structured interviews of two assistant professors who instructed the two groups of undergraduate students The teachers identify challenges and successes to using problem based learning as a tool for attaining 21C learning outcomes in digital learning spaces.



1 Nov 2016