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April 11, 2012


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I'm researching about satisfaction of transportation users too. This website and this post in particular is very helpful.

Jennifer, having been interested in many issues involving organizational development and the homo-sapiens of today, I chose to ride the train of Industrial-Organizational (I-O) Psychology, as my experience in 2 different military branches and numerous civilian jobs have shown mankind’s inability to “keep it real”, and instilled in this learner the burning desire to make a difference in the on-line learning environment.

What you seek reflects such deep issues, some of which show a culture seed, a societal posture and even false-hooded perceptions reflected from distant learning. I have been involved in a personal investment in distant learning for the past 8 years, with small reprieves, in higher education as an adult learner and currently striving in an on-line doctoral I-O program. The very issues you face have proven fluid with an almost mystique appearance involving cyber learning and may be hindered by our technological advancements stipend to academia’s desire and ability to afford and use these wonderful advances. For example, I can recall in my undergraduate program of writing a paper called the rolling game-boy, which questioned society’s inability to access the Internet while remaining mobile. It fascinated me to think of surfing the Internet on the highway or anywhere at any time, yet little did I know that this technology would become available to the public within a year or two later. Technology actually governs the structure by which society operates at higher levels, and educational institutions remain confined to this as well. So, I included the obvious to make this point: If an educational component has the ability to use synchronous process interaction in the classroom, so as to allow students to actually see live feeds or faces on avatars in virtual classrooms and chooses to use this technology, then reaching a “real” environment, as such, will remain within reach. I suppose that your endeavors, reflected as diligent and worthy in my mind, can manifest, but only within the confines and ability for the learner and educational facility to implement and uphold.

Now, provided that the technological structure supports such an environment, what challenges can occur and prevent the “real” environment? In this learner’s experiences, the answers prove mostly intangible, but no less important. In my continuing journey, I have had the pleasure of interacting with facilitators who were Naval Captains, professors employed by Dr. James Dobson, and multi-certified and highly educated, often part-time professionals, and adjuncts, who facilitates several classes at once. Interestingly, throughout these experiences, the most real and rewarding proved to be the instructors, in whom much trust and hope of learning had been placed, actually gave speedy feedback, substantive remarks and not just “good job” or often no comments whatsoever, or even those that sent a reassuring email, which made the experience seem almost “real”, for you see distant learning can and does, in this learner’s mind, become known as “disconnected-learning”. The very nature of on-line or cyber learning has morphed into an environment even professional organizations will not place equal to on-site learning, as the case with American Psychological Association (APA) accreditation (Rebecca, 2012, p. 43), thus creating unique and stressful challenges to those of us seeking to gain validation in said fields. So, I admire your desire to “keep it real” and receive it with full support, yet until we satisfy the face-to-face dilemma posed today, this issue will raise its ugly head time and again, especially by those supporting the I-O appendage. In fact, speaking to the mentality of this whole, and in part, some university marketers actually sell the fact that graduation diplomas will look the same as traditionally educated students would display, so as to stay marketable and avoid the stigma associated with distant learning.

I do hope that this input is not received with disdain, as I have found that my apparent career, or what feels like a never ending career as a life-long learner (as paradoxically apparent), for there remains many issues facing those who seek to bridge the gap of on-line learning than meets the eye, and at the very least associated with this evolving and ever-changing paradigm. Your ability to engage your students creates a recipe for success and makes direct strides to accommodate the lacking, but I fear will not change the minds of practitioners and scholars that hear by “keeping it real” will be enough to equalize and balance this learning model. Of course, if your work seeks to make it easier to “keep it real”, then press forward, but my first statements of deeper issues reflect what this learner has experienced at many levels involvement. While I seek on-line authenticity in blackboard interaction with discussions, group meetings, or any sundry of other events online, I have concluded that my core beliefs and values, even my reason and motivation for choosing and attending online, plays more of a role than putting steps into play to address these “real” seeking events.

This learner has reached a quandary of wondering just how valid will this cyber education become when I seek employment or possible publication of research. The development and use of Skype has made tremendous bounds of improvement since I once involved my classmates in my first graduate degree, but I still fear that the crutch of it all will prove to be the core-values of the learner coupled within the technological structure constraints mentioned above. The efforts to use any synchronous exchange tools mentioned and used in your instruction, must be met with acceptance and enthusiasm, for most students do desire the same education as their counterparts, yet those who seek validation and congruency with others in their current or future fields of study, actually require more.

To your question, asked of the best and brightest, I offer only a humble learner’s experience with an advocacy for fixing, fighting, and telling all who will listen. I would be far from the best and brightest, but oftentimes, the student in the back of the class may have some insightful information worthy of a second look. Who knows? I thoroughly enjoyed your blog and look forward to your response.

Most Humbly,



Rebecca, C. A. (2012, June 2012). What you should know about online education. Monitor on Psychology, 43, 43-46. Retrieved from http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/apa/monitor_201206/#/58

Hello Dr. Bunk, Thank you so much for the ideas and resources in your blogg. I facilitate classes on line and ground for a large university. This article will add depth and texture to several of the higher level courses I facilitate. Thank you!

Dr. Bunk ~
Thank you for your post! It is so refreshing to review the perspective from the other side of the table. I am nearing the completion of my doctorate in I/O Psychology, the majority of which I completed via online instruction. I agree with you regarding the challenges of teaching I/O within the context of online learning; however, if structured appropriately, the instructor and learner can benefit from the challenge. Looking back at my coursework, I most enjoyed the courses which required case reviews, weekly projects (aside from the standard twice weekly postings), or team engagement. In thse courses, I was challenged to go beyond course readings and really seek to apply my thoughts and analysis, in combination with my experience, in satisfying the course requirements. For instance, in my Testing & Measurements course, we received various tests as part of the course materials, and we were required to administer the tests (to ourselves), evaluate the output, and determine how effective the instrument would be in meeting the client's needs.

I agree, we do need to 'keep it real' so the students can better comprehend the concepts and recognize when to apply them.


Dr. Bunk was one of my professors in graduate school and her in-person classes are just as engaging. She truly is flexible and creative in her teaching style and the learning objectives. I was exposed to a variety of different learning methods (on-line, in person, group, individual work, applied projects, research, etc) all in one semester. My class appreciated that when Dr. Bunk was trying out something new, she would let us know that and really took our feedback in to consideration. Her classes are always evolving and she exposes students to different technologies, which helps prepare students for that ever-changing workforce as well.
Keep up the fabulous work Dr. Bunk!

Thanks so much for sharing this Jennifer.
What an excellent idea! One of the key gaps emotionally or socially that I feel as an online learner is from not actually ever "seeing" my classmates or instructors. If I passed them on the street I wouldn't even know to say hi. That seems unfortunate. Another gap in online education is that although we develop our writing skills, typically we do not get to practice our oral communication skills. Your assignment would help to address both of those issues!
In my introduction course I really enjoyed the assignment to interview an I-O professional. Although I interviewed someone at my organization that I already knew and had worked with for years, during the interview I learned so much more about I-O and what it is really like to work in the field than I ever would have felt comfortable asking about without the assignment to push me.
Another assignment that "kept it real" in my introduction class was to imagine what type of I-O role you think you might like to do and then go do some job hunting for it and report out what the salary range is, what credentials are required, and where those jobs are.
I think you are really on to something here. I hope that all online professors consider trying your approach. I hope you will share other online teaching experiments with us in future posts!

I like your project! I'm currently enrolled in an online school and I'm stuck in the intro psych classes right now which feels like Freshman year all over again. Such a waste of time! Where are you teaching if you don't mind me asking? Email me a response if you can!

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