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Participation and genres of communication in online settings of higher education
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
2008 (English)In: Education and Information Technologies: Official Journal of the IFIP technical committee on Education, ISSN 1360-2357, Vol. 13, no 2, 129-146 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper focuses on written utterances in online settings of higher education. It concerns the constitution of the initiation, turn taking and the steering of exchanges of utterances; and it describes these patterns in terms of different genres. The study also concerns participation in higher education and, specifically, participation in educational settings where students and teachers rarely meet face-to-face. Their participation is thus dependant on written utterances in online settings. Overall, this paper discusses constitutive aspects of these written utterances. The educational communication between students and teachers embraced both behaviourist and constructivist genres. The distinction between these two genres relates to the functionality of the utterances, the main metaphor for learning and the responsibilities for the communication taken by students and teachers. The emergence of these genres seems to be affected by interplay between the composition of the study-groups, the structure of the task and other aspects of participation through online settings.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 13, no 2, 129-146 p.
Keyword [en]
acquisition/participation, Bakhtin, discourse analysis, higher education, learning management systems, online settings
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-30350DOI: 10.1007/s10639-008-9057-9ScopusID: 43249115817OAI: diva2:281773
Available from: 2008-09-30 Created: 2009-12-17 Last updated: 2009-12-17
In thesis
1. Participation in a boundless activity: Computer-mediated communication in Swedish higher education
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Participation in a boundless activity: Computer-mediated communication in Swedish higher education
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The general purpose of this thesis is to understand how participation in the activity of education relates to communication and tools. This purpose unfolds by drawing on possible conceivable consequences. In the fulfilment of this purpose communication, education, participation, and tools are analytically linked by a common denominator: human action. The commentary text expounds on these links, while the four included papers illustrate how these links operate in educational settings. The general purpose serves to frame a narrower purpose: a discussion of participation through computer-mediated communication in online settings of Swedish higher education. The theoretical departure derives from a transactional approach that embraces human action as an inseparable aspect of a dynamic whole, here defined as the activity of education. This activity is discussed in terms of its cultural, ecological, historical, and social aspects. This theoretical departure embraces ideas largely taken from ecological, pragmatic and sociocultural perspectives of human action. The papers include analyses of, variously, empirical material taken from interviews with students, online exchanges of utterances, syllabuses, and study-guides. Two of the papers are literature reviews. The findings indicate that participation in education is a complex boundless phenomenon that is best understood as a dynamic whole. In this whole, participation in education is culturally, ecologically, historically, and socially transformed by actions, agents, communication, tools, and the setting. In this thesis, concepts such as computermediated communication, communicative genres, dialogical intersections, and educational settings are utilised to reach a dynamic understanding. The dynamics of these findings, therefore, are a challenge to all dualistic conceptualisations of education, such as those building on the idea of learners operating in learning environments. Particularly, these findings challenge operationalisations of education that rely on computer-mediated communication and which build on the idea of so-called online learning environments. A more coherent understanding of participation in education is possible if educational research and design builds on a non-dualistic conceptualisation that includes the idea of participation being performed in a boundless activity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Pedagogiska institutionen, Umeå universitet, 2009. 88 p.
Akademiska avhandlingar vid Pedagogiska institutionen, Umeå universitet, ISSN 0281-6768 ; 93
action theory, activity, communication, computer-mediated communication, distance education, educational settings, higher education, online courses, online education, participation, tools
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Research subject
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-30351 (URN)978-91-7264-874-5 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-01-15, Norra Beteendevetarhuset, NBVH1031, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2009-12-18 Created: 2009-12-17 Last updated: 2009-12-18Bibliographically approved

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