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Mediated meaning in web-based educational practice
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health, Social Work and Behavioural Sciences, School of Education, Psychology and Sport Science.
2010 (English)Conference paper, (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

What happens in a scenario where higher education, cheered on by political grandiloquence, sets out to increase intake by using Interaction Technology (IT) to attract “new groups” of students? In the PhD project discussed here, I combine “new student groups”, “new technology” and “new ways” of distributing education and explore the communicative actions by students trying to handle socially and culturally rooted protocol in an educational web-based context.

A still expanding international market for education has attracted representatives for ‘new technology’ outside academia. New actors in a field speak new ‘languages’. Actors’ perceptions of what kind of discursivity they are involved in will influence them when trying to make meaning or design a particular practise. From an intersubjective perspective the virtual learning environment is stripped of contextual clues, demanding of students to actively represent themselves and create an on-line identity. Students use their on-line identity to negotiate group culture and engage in the pursuit of meaning. I have studied the interaction between women students in a web-based educational context and focused on three processes: (i) positioning - when students - new to each other enter the stage; (ii) casting, the process of becoming a group and negotiating roles, and (iii) the process of meaning making related to course objectives.

Theories on meaning making and digital environments often have a narrow approach on context and ascribes face-to-face meetings normativity for meaning making. When methodological terminology becomes too instrumental they do not serve as analytical tools and there is a call for presenting a more complex picture. Discourse analysis cannot capture these intersubjective and mediated processes. I have therefore added action as a main object of analysis through the use of mediated discourse analysis (MDA).

My results call for a broadened discussion of “context” and “conditions” related to IT research and get rid of underlying assumptions of technology use as deterministic causing relationships. Affordances in the environment are instead related to changes in communication patterns with empowering effects as well as changed conditions for meaning making. Meaning making expands the idea of cognitive tools to also include social aspects of practice. To not just make room for, but also care for new groups in academia, it is time to design courses on the basis of what participants bring into context. Not by viewing participation as a matter of administrative access, but by embracing it’s constitutive dimension.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010.
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-17966OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-17966DiVA: diva2:509027
Conference
Designs for learning 2010, 17-19 mars, Stockholm
Available from: 2012-03-12 Created: 2012-03-12 Last updated: 2013-01-14Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf