An anatomy of a social network : momentum, enhanced engagement and social media fatigue : a qualitative case study of situated literacy and engagement among further education re-sit students in the UK

Scott, Howard Eric

Education
January 2016

Thesis or dissertation


Rights
© 2016 Howard Eric Scott. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.
Abstract

The thesis presents a case study of how an online social network supported the classroom learning experienced by students undertaking the GCSE English re-sit. Inherent to the study is the problem of engagement and motivation among students ambivalent to this compulsory curriculum. The case study compares uses of the network between 16-19 year olds and adults in a Further Education college in the northwest of England.

A theoretical model was constructed from a content analysis of communication posts across two years and four separate groups (n = 87) using the social network Edmodo.com. This was complemented by interviews with 15 students and observations of blended (classroom-based) use of the network. Coding of network communications showed how high levels of engagement assisted the negotiation of actions towards goals through co-operative communities of practice. High instances of affective disclosures in the network reveal apprehension to mobile provision, as well as opportunities for transformed perspective framed as decision-making thresholds.

Students‘ posts lead to a profiling based on the frequency and types of communication posts made to the network, enabling insights into use and the design of a Continuum of Engagement. The theoretical continuum illustrates how momentum occurs through increased activity across time through socially cohesive communities that can help orientate learners to objectives, albeit, mainly among adult learners and specifically where blended to classroom use. Further conceptualisation of the inhibitors that exist with younger and peripheral members are presented as ontological thresholds of online presence – barriers to community participation based upon individual‘s affective dispositions. These factors may contribute to a sense of resistance to online learning, labelled Social Media Fatigue, indicating divergence with social learning models. Underscoring all activity are technological features perceived variably by students as affordances or as inhibitors to participation. Pedagogical strategies and interventions by educators are recommended that illustrate how students can be supported to negotiate ontological thresholds creating momentum in engaged agency towards increased self-determination.

Publisher
School of Education and Social Sciences, The University of Hull
Supervisor
Williams, Peter, 1948 December 2-
Qualification level
Doctoral
Qualification name
PhD
Language
English
Extent
4 MB
Identifier
hull:16875
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