Ready or not, teaching staff in higher education are expected to embrace various technologies in learning and teaching

Year: 2016

Author: Delahunty, Janine

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Ready or not, teaching staff in higher education are expected to embrace various technologies in learning and teaching. For online discussion to be productive, lecturers need not only to be cognizant of the complex relationship between interpersonally and experientially oriented dialogue moves, but also be aware of language choices through which the academic content of the subject is collaboratively negotiated (Verenikina, Delahunty and Jones, in press). Thus it is important for lecturers (as well as students) to understand how to manage this mode of communication, in which face-to-face pedagogies are not directly transferable due to the gap created by separation in time, place, physical and geographical location and the ‘interruption’ this creates for discussion (Delahunty, Verenikina & Jones, 2014). This paper reports the experiences of staff at a large regional university. Firstly it presents data collected through an anonymous online survey for the purpose of understanding lecturers’ needs, and provides a contextual backdrop for how online discussion was experienced by staff across two faculties. Secondly, it describes the implementation of the Guide, specifically the attitudes and opinions of interviewed lecturers who used the Guide. The project sought to better understand the experience of lecturers using online forums for co-constructing knowledge from the perspectives of cultural-historical theory (originated by Vygotsky 1978) which allows us to conceptualise effective social interactions through notions of scaffolding (Hammond & Gibbons, 2005), and systemic functional linguistics (SFL) (Halliday & Matthiessen 2014). Combining these frameworks allowed us to explore the lecturers’ conceptions of the role of dialogue in the teaching-learning experience. Using the SFL resource of Appraisal (Martin & White, 2005) close examination of attitudes and opinions was enabled through a comprehensive range of descriptive categories for evaluative language choices that lecturers used to reflect on their experience.ReferencesDelahunty, J., Verenikina, I. & Jones, P. (2014). Socio-emotional connections: identity, belonging and learning in online interactions. A literature review. Technology, Pedagogy and Education. 23 (2), 243-265Halliday, M. & Matthiessen, C. (2014). An Introduction to Functional Grammar, 4th Edn. Abingdon, Oxford, UK: Routledge.Hammond, J. & Gibbons, P. (2005). Putting scaffolding to work: The contribution of scaffolding inarticulating ESL education. Prospect, 20(1), 6–30. Martin, J. R. & White, P. R. (2005). The Language of Evaluation: Appraisal in English. NY: Palgrave Macmillan.Verenikina, I., Delahunty, J. & Jones P. (in press). Scaffolding productive online discussion to enhance university students’ learning. The Internet and Higher EducationVygotsky, L.S. (1978). Mind In Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press