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Section 1 Foundations of Doctoral Study / Chapter 7 Preparing for Writing

Remember that comparative analysis means we are examining component characteristics of a problem or question in order to develop an informed discussion.

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 The following are excerpts of articles that were published in peer-reviewed journals.


Whether the post-secondary online teacher mentors, facilitates, instructs, or all of the above, if such a teacher is to guide a community of inquiry, that is mediate a beautiful learning environment, he or she needs to have sympathy with their students, which implies the ability to emotional connect in the way suggested by Holmberg (2003). Though theoretically a distance education teacher could “act” like he or she has sympathy or “act” with immediacy, that is give others the sense that their actions are genuine, without being harmoniously passionate, such behavior would still be congruent with the findings of Carbonneau et al. (2008). The difference would affect the teacher in the long term not the student. Bringing beauty into the discussion of distance education theory requires what Dewey and Bentley (1949) described as a transactional understanding of experience, which moves aesthetics to the center of experience and requires accepting the idea that contexts are comprised of the histories of the participants, their feelings, their decisions in a given learning environment, and consequences those actions bring (Brinkmann, 2011; Girod, Twyman, & Wojcikiewicz, 2010; Kokkos, 2009; Parrish, 2006). The harmoniously passionate online teacher would theoretically not only engender motivation in others to construct meaning, hence producing growth in awareness and understanding, but also help make the online learning environment a beautiful place to be (Greenberger, 2012).


Another important component of truth for students involves what validates a claim as true. This especially comes to the forefront concerning ethics and what is morally right or wrong. Smith’s (2011) data indicates that for the majority of emerging adults “if people believe something to be right, then for them it is right, simply by virtue of their belief. Absent any morally objective standard of moral evaluation anything could be morally right, then, as long as someone believes it” (p. 29).  In our postmodern era a personal truth is absolute. During this paper’s study, informants were asked, “what do you do when another person’s truth is different than yours?” (Appendix B, Research Survey). Eighty-eight percent of students concluded that “they have their truth and I have mine,” 7.5 % selected “we are really saying the same thing,” 14.5% stated “say that they are wrong.” This data coincides with Smith’s findings that two-thirds of participants were not from realists or moral absolutists, and one-third of participants were strong moral relativists. Smith (2011) concludes that undergraduates’ responses are often individualistic and situational, with from “moral commitments jumbled together in confusing statements” (p.31). This has been expressed in the worldview class when students condition their responses by stating that everyone is different and it depends on the situation (Larkin, 2012).


 What stands out about these excerpts? Was it obvious that different authors wrote each?