June 26-28, 2024
Long Beach, CA

Equity in the Online Classroom: Helping Faculty Shift the Focus Through Restorative Thinking

All Audiences

Presented by:

  • Dr. LaVonne Riggs-Zeigen, Instructor, Grand Canyon University
  • Elizabeth Larson, Associate Professor, Grand Canyon University
  • Dr. Thomas Dyer, Associate Professor, Grand Canyon University

Speaker Bios:

  • Dr. LaVonne Riggs-Zeigen is a faculty member at Grand Canyon University. LaVonne teaches in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the College of Education. She has more than 20 years of experience in education with three years experience in higher education. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies from Washington State University, a Master of Special Education from Asuza Pacific University, and an Educational Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Concordia University Irvine. Her professional interests include research to examine restorative practice, growth mindset, and mindfulness.
  • Elizabeth Larson is an Associate Professor at Grand Canyon University and has worked in higher education for the past fifteen years. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Management and Master’s degrees in both Secondary Education and Psychology. She is currently pursuing her Doctorate degree in General Psychology with an emphasis in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Her research interests include cognitive science, secondary impact of PTSD, technology integration in the classroom, and the philosophy of technology.
  • Dr. Thomas Dyer is an associate professor at Grand Canyon University. Thomas teaches in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. He has more than 13 years of experience in higher education and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Arizona State University, a Master of Education Administration and a Master of Psychology from Grand Canyon University, and a Ph.D. in General Psychology with an emphasis in Integrating Technology. His professional interests include research to examine student engagement and participation in the online learning platform, academic integrity, online proximity and social presence, technology integration, and faith integration.

Session Info:

Educational communities should promote positive school cultures and a sense of belonging. In the online learning environment, positive communities struggle to meet student social-emotional needs leaving students to potentially feel disconnected from their school, peers, and instructors. These experiences create a component of diversity in the classroom that should be addressed to assist students in achieving their academic goals. Based on the concept of restorative practices, restorative thinking allows instructors to analyze their understanding of students’ educational needs while increasing their ability to establish positive teacher-to-student and student-to-student relationships. Restorative practices are defined as “a social science that studies how to build social capital and achieve social discipline through participatory learning and decision making” (Wachtel, IIRP, 2021). Restorative thinking is a transformative process that allows teachers to analyze their understanding of students’ experienced classroom interactions including educational trauma. Students’ educational trauma can hinder them from fully engaging in their academic experience. One way to assist students in overcoming these negative experiences is for educators to focus on their perceptions of educational trauma. This research is grounded in a literature review on the following topics: Restorative Justice, Restorative Practice Theory, Mindfulness, Social Presence, Social Emotional Learning, Academic Self-Attribution, Academic Self-Perception, and Academic Self-Concept.

The purpose of this presentation is to investigate how faculty perceive restorative thinking practices to assist students who have experienced previous classroom trauma that may hinder students’ online classroom engagement and motivation. The researchers have created a rigorous overview of literature through the lens of restorative practice. Attendees will explore strategies, resources, and research that will assist in increasing student engagement, helping turn mistakes into opportunities. Within the session, attendees will participate in a Padlet discussion to gauge prior knowledge and a Quizizz assessment to gauge what they have learned.

Session Outcomes:

  • Understand the concept of restorative thinking.
  • Explore strategies to increase student engagement.
  • Analyze positive and negative school interactions.

Session Resources:


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