E-learning for transformation? : a grounded theory investigation of the student and staff experience in two educational programmes at the University of Malta

Vancell, Joseph

Education
September 2013

Thesis or dissertation


Rights
© 2013 Joseph Vancell. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.
Abstract

E-learning has become a mainstream feature in Higher Education. It is no longer restricted to the innovative practice of pioneer educators. But how are students and staff experiencing this change?

This research used the Grounded Theory methodology. Two courses at the University of Malta were selected as case studies: one being a fully online course, the other adopting a hybrid approach. Extensive data were gathered through semi-structured interviews with students and lecturers. All the data were systematically analysed using established Grounded Theory methods, including constant comparison, coding and memoing, enabling the researcher to construct a conceptual model from the student and staff experience in e-learning.

The thesis argues that e-learning, defined in this study as that learning facilitated online through network technologies, can be employed to support a range of pedagogies from knowledge-transmission or ‘banking education’ (Freire, 1970) methodologies to critical constructivist teaching and learning approaches. The latter, through the dialogic affordances of e-learning, allows students and educators to be engaged in critical discussion, the co-construction of knowledge and praxis. A theoretical model is presented which identifies key factors that contribute to effective e-learning in Higher Education. This model is original in that it shows how e-learning can be used to help a learning community achieve two interrelated Higher Educational objectives. First, through e-learning, students can gain the knowledge and skills required to function efficiently in society. Second, students can become conscious of and, possibly act against, the underlying social processes that work counter to the democratisation process.

Publisher
Department of Education Studies, The University of Hull
Supervisor
Williams, Peter, 1948 December 2-; Hope, Max A.
Qualification level
Doctoral
Qualification name
PhD
Language
English
Extent
8 MB
Identifier
hull:16516
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