Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version

Spring 5-2015


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Teaching, Learning & Teacher Education, Under the Supervision of Professor Elaine Chan. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2015

Copyright (c) 2015 Jacob Petersen


This is an inquiry into how online instructors embrace the diversity of their student body while facing the inherent differences between a traditional face-to-face class and one that is taught online. Current research suggests that diversity in a traditional classroom is an asset if the instructor is sensitive to students’ backgrounds. This paper examines if such philosophies in traditional classrooms translate well into a distance education environment, where the student body may be even more diverse than a face-to-face class, but possibly unrecognizable because of the lack of physical cues. Research on the topic of multiculturalism in an online classroom is limited; therefore, this paper helps to highlight the need of such conversation in the study of education. Multicultural pedagogy is usually acknowledged as an asset in a traditional classroom, but can the same techniques and ideas be transferred to online learning, and, if so, how? In this qualitative study, I conducted interviews with five instructors who teach both online and face-to-face classes to gain instructors’ perspectives on the topic online instruction, and specifically in the areas of support for both the instructors and students, community, and, curriculum.

Adviser: Elaine Chan