Network Learning Conference: doctoral symposium

The Network Learning Conference is starting with a doctoral symposium on Monday 7 April. The conference hashtag is #nlc2014

The symposium is in two blocks, the first is presentations and the second block is a discussion session.

Bonnie Stewart on Exploring networked scholarly identities and influences. [@bonstewart]. Majority of the audience use Twitter and or blog. Bonnie’s work considers who we are as academics online and what that means for higher education. She also thinks ‘outloud’ with networks of colleagues within and beyond the individual institution and that what intrigues her in terms of network learning.
Adoption of SoMe often broadcast focused and loosing the interactional nature of these technologies. Networked and scholarly practices intersect especially around reputation and influence of academics. The traditional markers of influence and reputation are institutional-led but this is subverted in working in networks.
Network reputations often measured by metrics of eg, followers/ following but these are inadequate as measures of influence.
Networks of individual academics are fluid and dynamic and overlapping with different audiences and are transparent and traceable. Can often see context collapse in understanding the geographical and organisational, gendered and cultural contexts which have to be navigated as an individual node in the networks.
Research conducted as an ethnography involving 13 participants observed and interviewed ten. Interested in the networked literacies in online networks and are these different from institutional markers of influence and reputation. Main uses of SoMe were in terms of dissemination and community including connecting ‘around the mundane’. Once perceived as having online reputation, this changes how the individual is identified, eg, no longer ‘just’ a grad student. There are also liabilities and positioning fatigue from constant navigation of these networks.

Mary Bolger on How Servant-Leadership enhanced intrinsic motivation in MOOCs?. Servant leadership is a philosophy/ way of life involving listening, empathy, building community and seeking growth of others so focuses on others rather than self. Also draws on self-directed learning and self-determination theory. Cites Knowles continuum of pedagogy to andragogy along with heutagogy.
Self-determination theory links competency, relatedness and autonomy building confidence and motivation in learning. Also used Trompenaars and Voerman’s Dilemma Reconciliation Theory that draws on a cyclical logic seeking to combine the best of two alternative positions (the win-win).
The tech-touch dilemma is another continuum between low tech but high touch and high tech (networked learning) but low touch. Her research seeks to identify how to develop high-tech high-touch learning via the servant-leadership style of engagement. Servant-leadership become goal in itself and self-perpetuating.

The philosophical positioning of the study is of subjective study with an epistemology of value-centred knowledge. Also draws on humanist and determinist views in understanding agency and the limits to agency.

Kyung Mee Lee on A Foucauldian Critical Discourse Analysis of Distance Education at Open University . Decided to focus on distance rather then networked learning to look at the history of distance learning. Discourses embedded in the labels of open education, from Open Education Resources to MOOCs generating a dominant discourse of openess. Foucauld position finds that the dominant discourse regulates how we think about distance education and so is an exertion of power rather than a ‘true’ position and so the focus of research shifts to issues of impact and how discourses may become dominant. This research looks at emergence of dominant discourses at particular institutions at particular moments in time and multiple discourses in competition with oneanother. As a result, alternative discourses are marginalised and so are problematised where the dominant discourse is normalised. This research looking at two open universities on the discourses on distance education. Identified distance education discourses as open, learners as self-regulated and technological innovation leads to pedagogical innovation. Combined interviews and document analysis. Chose a time period of 2002 as the time when the HEIs decided to put many/ all courses online. Since 2002 the discourses evolved to increasingly emphasise technological innovation alongside the more established discourses of openess, flexibility and excellence. A key site of tension is between an emphasis on openness vs technological innovation.

Cormac O’Keefe on online ethnography adult skills e-assessment. e-assessment involves the use of online or computer-based assessment so is a wide range of activities. The research uses trace ethnography which is similar to virtual ethnography and emphases the mundane that also involved the hidden traces from the technology itself, eg, code traces in computer/ network logs. The research is looking at local and transnational networks in complex networks of test setter, software routines, databases, test taker, learner objects etc…. Transnationality is an outcome of using the online and how the technology is distributed. Policy networks are also being mapped.
Conceptual narrowing a key process in the research of the test in terms of socio-technical practices to seek ways of measuring human capital that can be turned in to calculable objects that turn back through policy and local networks. Thus to inform local and policy decision-makings. So this shows how e-assessment is a material process and practices.

Steve Wright the standardisation of taste: challenges around a written accounts of sensory, sequential and multi-modal data. Three stages of research around becoming a beer judge informed by ethnomethodology including Conversation Analysis amd Membership Categorisation Analysis, Foucauldian methods of tracing histories of taste and so draws on Actor-Networked Theory. Conceives of technology in a wide definition involving apparatus, technique, organisation and network (Winner 1977) so Steve’s research is focused on technology as categorisation and classifications and how these are represented and performed. There is a beer XML standard for describing beer recipes and beer standards that has been turned to an iPad app. How to present aspects of taste in a written thesis? So is experimenting with the use of different fonts, using comic strips, images and scanned documents with hand written notes and retaining his own commentary in the final document/ thesis.

Now moving onto a coffee break and then groups discussions so i won’t be taking live notes for the rest of the symposium.

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