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The use of the World Wide Web in teaching and learning in higher education : a case study approach

Eynon, Rebecca Elizabeth (2004). The use of the World Wide Web in teaching and learning in higher education : a case study approach. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University)


Government policy emphasises the role higher education is expected to play in the era of the "information society" and the benefits the increasing use of new technology in teaching and learning within the university will bring. Accordingly, the purpose of this research was to explore the influence of the WWW in teaching and learning in universities. The study was designed in response to a rejection of technological deterministic approaches and the call for more empirically grounded study of the relationships between society and technology. It examines the use of the WWW in six case study modules in two universities in England from a staff, student and institutional perspective, located within the national context. A case study design, utilising a communications framework, was adopted to guide the research process. The methods utilised were: literature review, analysis of national and university policy documents, semi structured interviews with staff and students, two student questionnaires, focus groups with students and analysis of the case study websites.

The cases explored here provide a rather different picture to that painted by the dominant discourses about ICTs and higher education. The use of the web in teaching and learning neither appears to be radically transforming the university, nor to be providing (or even regarded as) a ready solution to the problems the sector currently encounters. Yet, the technology is, in places, adding to the experiences of staff and students in a variety of complex ways. Through exploring practical instances of educational innovation this research has indicated the mesh of interrelating factors that are at work when using the web in teaching and learning, and the importance of considering the full range of experiences of the individuals involved, the variable purposes of using the technology, and the influence of the social contexts that surround initiatives. The benefits of the use of a communications model in further research is highlighted, and the use of mixed model studies promoted to gain greater understanding, aid with generalizability, and provide arguments to counter techno deterministic accounts prevalent in this area.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
L Education > LF Individual institutions (Europe)
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
School of Policy & Global Affairs > School of Policy & Global Affairs Doctoral Theses
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