RE: [xmca] Engeström's theory of expansive learning, views appreciated!

From: dima dayoub <ddima who-is-at>
Date: Mon Jan 21 2008 - 15:48:17 PST

Dear Mr Cole, I am very grateful for all your invaluable input here. Much appreciated. Thank you for the links too, they will give keep me going for a couple of days. It is most encouraging to have feedback of established experts in the field like yourself and others.
Paul, your study sounds very interesting and unique :) - It would be my pleasure to have further correspondence regarding our projects.
Márcia, many thanks for the attachments! Helena, thank you too for your interest in learning more about what I am doing. Here goes: The Syrian Virtual University , launched in September 2003, was a pioneering initiative in Syria. Likewise, Internet access/pc penetration had , almost concurrently, become a public tool, and learner-centred teaching paradigms were not popular in other higher education teaching settings. I worked as an SVU tutor in its foundational academic year (and previously in a brick-and-mortar university) and this triggered my interest in tutors' experiences of adapting to a wholly online teaching environment, with new pedagogical philosophy, new technological tools, unprecdented interaction modes, occasionally international curricula and expectations of delivery, and even economical missions to fulfil.
I see the SVU context as the convergence of multiple contexts and activity systems. My research endeavours to understand the development of the university's technical/social/other structure through tutors' and local teams' collaborative efforts to overcome emergent contradictions; and ultimately, I try to explore the mediational influence of such structure on tutors' professional growth and construction of identities.
I am also interested in exploring how the influences of the various systems help or hinder a fruitful re-division of labour in the SVU. For example, I tried to understand what enables the tutor to become a guide or facilitator, as opposed to transmitter of knowledge. I was surprised to find out that basic features of the environment itself have produced a counter-effect here. The intangible social presence in computer-mediated environments led the students to compensate by underusing the academically valuable asynchronous tools (email) for heavy correspondence with the tutor aimed at reassurance of presence. There are many other ways in which the abstract re-distribution of roles proves to be an oversimplified and undercontextualised promise.
Sorry if this sounds a bit unstructured/vague still, it is never easy to sum up a social phenomena in motion. I just wanted to give a rough idea about what I am researching . Cheers all
Dima> From: hworthen who-is-at> To: xmca who-is-at> Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2008 09:00:19 -0600> Subject: RE: [xmca] Engeström's theory of expansive learning, views appreciated!> > Hello, Dima --> > This sounds fascinating. Would you mind providing more details?> > First, I'll have to go get that Engestrom article you refer to. It sounds a lot like his Journal of Education and Work 2001 article, "Expansive Learning at Work: toward an activity theoretical reconceputalization," but I'll need to get the one you're actually referring to. I just saw Mike's message about providing a reference.> > Second -- The Syrian Virtual University? I took a look at -- does that match your view of it?> > And you're studying the adoption experience -- meaning what it's like to enroll, try to take a course, pay for access, engage in class discussion, take exams, etc.? From the wikipedia entry it looks as if this is a university where most of the students are accessing the class experience from internet cafes due to the high cost and unavailability of high-speed connections; I'm wondering what that is like? Is that part of what you mean by "the adoption experience"?> > And then, "experiencing the future." Can you be more specific? I think you'll have to actually are referring to. I've seen the word "prolepsis" but I don't think that's what you're talking about. Do you mean a collective future, for example?> > I think I need to know whether I'm on the right track with the above questions before tackling your main question, which is about the relative power of different participants in a research project to shape the learning that occurs. Am I right?> > Thank you --> > Helena>> > > > > > > ________________________________________> From: [] On Behalf Of dima dayoub []> Sent: Sunday, January 20, 2008 5:16 PM> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity> Subject: [xmca] Engeström's theory of expansive learning, views appreciated!> > Dear all,> > I am a PhD student at the University of Manchester, currently writing up my research. I am interested in exploring the adoption experiences of online education in the Syrian Virtual University, a new initiative in the region.> > I would appreciate any feedback on the following:> > I am reflecting on whether Engeström's notion of 'experiencing' necessarily implies intervention-mediation. I have read his 2007 article 'Enriching the theory of expansive learning: lessons from ourneys towards coconfiguration' and I have understood the occuring reflections in the variousorganisations studied as an outcome of intervention sessions. c> Doesn't intervention relegate the role of the less powerfully-positioned researchers? Does it not also define the participants as those who are enabled to act, e.g. 'a head physician' or 'a manager'?> > Any 'corrective' or other interpretations of Engeström, will be truly appreciated.> > Many thanks in anticipation> Dima> Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2008 09:26:57 +1100>> _______________________________________________> xmca mailing list>>
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Received on Mon Jan 21 15:49 PST 2008

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