Embargo Period


Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

Lynee Connelly


In the age of global education where online classes, trainings, and degree programs are drawing international and multicultural student cohorts, understanding how culture impacts a student’s online learning experience deserves attention. Tasked with co-creating the plan for pedagogy of SIT’s re-imagined Master of Arts in Sustainable Development online degree program, research into Indigenous epistemologies and experiential education inspired this inquiry’s guiding question: How can we, as online educators, incorporate multiple ways of knowing, pedagogically, into the facilitation of online courses? Foundational theories and principles were drawn from the aforementioned body of literature while studies on the impact of culture in online education were reviewed. Adult learners (18 years of age and older) are at the heart of this research; in effort to understand how to support their ways of knowing, a compressed ethnography was conducted whereby 14 educators with experience facilitating online courses and trainings in multicultural contexts were surveyed and interviewed. Findings were informed by their lived experiences and revealed teaching practices, approaches, philosophies, and theories based on the educators’ perspectives of success. Ultimately, their responses validated the inquiry into ways of knowing and suggest there is more work to be done in meeting adult students’ learning needs given the challenges and opportunities afforded by Learning Management Systems and the asynchronous nature of online education. Thisresearch aspires to spark conversations among practicing online educators and self-reflection about their own ways of knowing which inevitably are woven into pedagogy design and practice.


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Higher Education | Indigenous Education | Online and Distance Education