The meaning of digital life
A group of students standing outside a lecture room talking, is a common view on campus - common and insignificant. Or ar the social gatherings on campus or in digital arenas, really insignificant in a learning context? Linda Reneland-Forsman has made research on communication and meaning-making in web-based learning.
Linda Reneland Forsman defended her thesis on June 4, 2009, with the dissertaion A Chaning Experience - communication and meaning-making in web-based learning. Through observing how students on distance education communicate in digital arenas, she has studied the relation between study results and communicative interaction.
Linda Reneland-Forsman's thesis on
digital communication in higher
— The social networks are not only to be regarded as something that takes place by the side of studies. It is, to a large extend, through those that the students create culture and meningful context with direct effect on their studies, Linda Reneland-Forsman says in her office at Växjö University.
Culture and identity is important
Linda Reneland-Forsman explains that the culture within a student group can take form at a very early stage in a digital forum. She describes how many students in the beginning, make "fly-bys" - messages lacking subsistence just to mark their presence such as 'I'm just testing the forum' or 'Hi there!'. The messages display the need for personal presence and that the forum is not solely for educational matters.
— The personal identity, to be seen, is important in the digital environment. But it is just as important to show that you see the others and back that up with actions and contributions. In groups with an explicit and strong culture, it was obvious that those who did not share in a genuine way on the forum, didn't get any response from the other group members.
Interface of pedagogy
Linda Reneland-Forsman experiences that many pedagogues looses their perspective as soon as technology and digital tools becomes part of the picture.
— It is the same issues in the digital environment in the analog life, that you must relate to, she states.
Change may demand several steps in a new direction. To begin with the preconceived ideas on the digital world need to be corrected. Then pedagogues must make their own experiences as users and take part of current research, and in that process use their critical thinking.
Being a researcher is a privilege
according to Linda Reneland-Forsman
— The power of pedagogy consists of bringing disparate disciplines together to create something new. Pedagogues are good at creating conditions for such mash-ups, Linda Reneland-Forsman says explaining that is what she calls the interface of pedagogy.
New technology, old phenomenon
That digital tools and arenas are creating negative processes with harassment and gossip on Facebook or in text messages, is a misconception accordin got Linda Reneland-Forsman.
— Those phenomenoa have always existed. It is just that they become visual through the digital technology. All of a sudden, we can point out things that were previously concealed. That also makes it possible for us to step in and interact - not least in an educational environment.
Download the thesis