Using photographic images as an interactive online teaching strategy

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Teaching via distance requires inventive instructional strategies to facilitate an optimum learning experience. This qualitative research study evaluated the effect of one unique online teaching strategy called "photovoice" [Wang, C., & Burris, M. (1997). Photovoice: Concept, methodology, and use for participatory needs assessment. Health Education Behavior, 24, 369-387]. While this technique was originally created as a data collection strategy for participatory research, this study utilized a modified version of photovoice (PV) to involve learners actively in the online education process. The findings of this preliminary study show that graduate students who were studying online reported numerous positive effects related to this teaching approach. Specifically, photographic images used in online courses captured students' attention, stimulated creative thinking, and created community. This paper outlines these three key themes and describes how PV enacts two of Chickering and Gamson's [Chickering, A. W., & Gamson, Z. F. (1987). Seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education. American Association for Health Education Bulletin, 39(7), 3-6] principles of effective online education. Additionally, the findings are situated within the Community of Inquiry Model (COI) proposed by Rourke, Anderson, Garrison and Archer [Rourke, L., Anderson, T., Garrison, D., & Archer, W. (2001). Assessing social presence in asynchronous text-based computer conferencing. Journal of Distance Education, 14(2)] and Rovai and Barnum's [Rovai, A., & Barnum, K. (2003). On-line course effectiveness: An analysis of student interaction and perception of learning. Journal of Distance Education, 18(1), 57-73] research on the development of community online. All findings are also reviewed from a constructivist theory framework.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-240
Number of pages12
JournalInternet and Higher Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep. 2006


  • Distance education
  • Online teaching
  • Photovoice


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