Medium for empowerment or a 'centre for everything': students’ experience of control in digital environments within a university context

BURNETT, Cathy (2011). Medium for empowerment or a 'centre for everything': students’ experience of control in digital environments within a university context. Education and information technologies, 16 (3), 245-258.

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In maximising opportunities to nurture rich and productive learning communities, there is a need to know more about the cultures and sub-cultures that surround virtual learning environments (VLEs). Drawing from a small-scale interview study of students’ digital practices, this paper explores how different discourses may have patterned a group of students’ experiences of VLEs. Unlike studies which have focused upon evaluations of specific projects or interventions, this study investigated their experience across their course. It explores the student identities they associated with digital environments and the power relationships which seemed to pattern how they positioned themselves (or felt positioned) as learners. Whilst none were intimidated by technical aspects, the student identities available to them seemed to vary, as did their perceptions of the student identities associated with university-sponsored digital environments. The analysis considers three aspects of their experience: how they related to the VLE itself, how they related to others through this, and the alternative communities they created to attempt to manage their engagement with the VLE. The paper concludes by arguing for further research which focuses on the broader student experience across courses in order to explore how university-based digital environments intersect with students’ identities as learners.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the author's version of an article published in Education and information technologies.
Uncontrolled Keywords: new technologies, virtual learning environment, discourse, power, identity, online discussion
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Institute of Education
Identification Number:
Page Range: 245-258
Depositing User: Caroline Fixter
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2010 16:38
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2023 09:31

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