Engaging learners in academic discourse: the role of the VLE in helping students to find a voice

F. Hallett, B. Woodroffe, D. Armstrong, C. Sherratt

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Originally, the intention of this paper and the presentation to which it relates was to share the experiences of a novice academic and her attempt to engage teacherresearchers in academic discourse, and to invite critical interrogation of preliminary findings and insights. In the context of widening participation, much research has been undertaken in the area of undergraduate experience, and the enhancement of that learning experience through innovative use of technologies. Despite the growing graduate diversity, likewise recorded, there has been rather less investigation into postgraduates’ experience, in the context of Lifelong Learning and Professional Development, of transition to study at masters level, and perceptions of their own confidence and competence to relate this meaningfully to their professional practice, and to ‘write academically’. This account hoped to share the observations of a facilitator of such developments, herself aspiring to enhance her own practice in partnership with colleague(s), and to discuss and raise questions around the use of a virtual learning environment as a platform for the collaborative creation of learning objects, which focuses on students’ use of and response to writing support frameworks, designed to promote a willingness among participants - increasingly distance learners - to explore academic discourses and voices. Drawing on the experiences of colleagues in the field, the project sought to move away from the use of electronic media to replicate the kind of discussion which might take place in face-to-face contexts, and towards an emphasis on writing as a form of individual but public enquiry, and in particular a formative process which mitigates the (perceived) outcome orientation of participants, whose tendency to approach writing as a single stage, ‘end-loaded’ operation restricts its purpose to that of a vehicle for summative assessment. In fact, what will be reported, ultimately, is a project that has not gone to plan, the reasons for which the tutor-participants determined to address in a SOLSTICE 2007 Conference, Edge Hill University 2 perhaps somewhat unorthodox fashion, exploring the extent to which we share an understanding of the conceptual underpinnings of our e-learning approaches …… KEYWORDS On-line learning; collaboration; social constructivism; academic discourse
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2007
EventSOLSTICE conference - Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, United Kingdom
Duration: 3 Jun 2010 → …


ConferenceSOLSTICE conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Period3/06/10 → …


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