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The Unreliable Transcript: Contingent Technology and Informal Practice in Asynchronous Learning Networks

Jones, CR and Cawood, J (1998) The Unreliable Transcript: Contingent Technology and Informal Practice in Asynchronous Learning Networks. In: Networked lifelong learning: Innovative Approaches to Education & Training Through the Internet , 1. (Networked Learning Conference, 06 April 1998 - 08 April 1998, University of Sheffield).

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Some observers discern a paradigm shift in education in which the distinction between distance and campus learning is becoming blurred. The technology of computer conferencing has been merged with web technology in the form of the Asynchronous Learning Network. This paper examines the practices that develop when such new technologies and their associated learning strategies are deployed. It concentrates on a central feature of computer mediated conferencing, the transcript. This paper examines the claims made for transcripts as a basis for understanding just what goes on within the educational process. It concludes that the transcript is generally an unreliable guide to the activity and process that takes place in a conference. In particular the transcript is shown to be unavailable to such techniques as content analysis and inappropriate to a simple conversational metaphor. An ethnographic methodology was employed to generate an adequate description of 'just what' happened when university education was transposed from a traditional setting into the new technology. Students were observed orienting themselves to course requirements so that conference transcripts reflected the students and tutors understanding of what they ought to do. It was found that the transcript served as an official document, in many instances on-line activity was an artificial construct consciously produced as material for assessment. Almost all students moved outside the conferencing system to produce a 'contingent' technology of learning and developed an informal practice which has been given little attention in CMC literature.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: computer conferencing; collaboration; transcript; contingent technology
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Divisions: Education
Publisher: University of Sheffield
Date Deposited: 14 Aug 2017 11:01
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2022 15:15
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/6930
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