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Battery-farming or free-ranging: towards citizen participation in e- learning environments Richard Hall, De Montfort University,

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Presentation on theme: "Battery-farming or free-ranging: towards citizen participation in e- learning environments Richard Hall, De Montfort University,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Battery-farming or free-ranging: towards citizen participation in e- learning environments Richard Hall, De Montfort University,

2 Background noise building environmental frameworks that are inclusive and participatory

3 Background noise building environmental frameworks that are inclusive and participatory civic inclusion through engagement with the service-user voice[s]; the legitimacy of non-academic knowledge; and decision-making through negotiable freedom-of-action, or free-ranging.

4 Environmental framework 1: the service-user voice “Service users have a key role in explaining new policies to other service users and in helping professionals to understand service users’ experiences and views on new ways of working” (Care Services Inclusion Partnership, 2005)

5 Environmental framework 1: the service-user voice “Service users have a key role in explaining new policies to other service users and in helping professionals to understand service users’ experiences and views on new ways of working” (Care Services Inclusion Partnership, 2005) Hirst’s (1994; 2002) associative democratic model: voluntary, self-governing associations, that are democratic and transparent, and which involve multiple agencies, to drive plurality, diversity, participation and inclusion.

6 Environmental framework 1: the service-user voice “Service users have a key role in explaining new policies to other service users and in helping professionals to understand service users’ experiences and views on new ways of working” (Care Services Inclusion Partnership, 2005) Hirst’s (1994; 2002) associative democratic model: voluntary, self-governing associations, that are democratic and transparent, and which involve multiple agencies, to drive plurality, diversity, participation and inclusion. Do individuals, regardless of access, have the information-management skills to participate in [a] society?

7 Environmental framework 2: non-academic knowledge Frière: “Knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry men pursue in the world, with the world and with each other” (1972, p. 46).

8 Environmental framework 2: non-academic knowledge Frière: “Knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry men pursue in the world, with the world and with each other” (1972, p. 46). ‘Me Media’ (The Observer, 2006)

9 Environmental framework 2: non-academic knowledge Frière: “Knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry men pursue in the world, with the world and with each other” (1972, p. 46). ‘Me Media’ (The Observer, 2006) Barnett (2000): ‘supercomplexity’ or the existence within multiple media forms of an overload of frameworks for analysing an overload of data [in an age where more open access to information leads to its rapid re- conceptualisation] emotional, affective, empowered decision-making

10 Environmental framework 3: decision-making through free-ranging Barnett and Coate: “Engagement on the part of the students can only develop if the students are deliberately accorded space. By ‘space’ is meant here opportunities for the student to come into her own experience and will herself into them” (2005, p. 164).

11 Environmental framework 3: decision-making through free-ranging Barnett and Coate: “Engagement on the part of the students can only develop if the students are deliberately accorded space. By ‘space’ is meant here opportunities for the student to come into her own experience and will herself into them” (2005, p. 164). A triptych of knowing, acting and being. Tension 1: procedural and radical pedagogies Tension 2: enforced and voluntary enrolment

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14 Environmental framework 3: decision-making through free-ranging Battery-farming or free-ranging? (Ip, 2003) Autonomy in acquiring, utilising and publishing learning materials. Freedom-of-action over her/his approach to task-work. Perceptions of confinement – who shapes the boundaries?

15 Active participation Decision-making and involvement, is central to participation and moving beyond a dependency culture. Enabling the users of a specific environment to shape its culture is central in scaffolding citizen participation, and in enabling users to make judgements and take decisions.

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17 Citizen participation 8Citizen controlDegrees of citizen power 7Delegated power 6Partnership 5PlacationDegrees of tokenism 4Consultation 3Informing 2TherapyNon-participation 1Manipulation

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19 Citizen participation defining and controlling agendas and new areas for activity and action; defining common ground within diverse communities; developing legitimate, alternative models for analysis; promoting equality by making communities as inclusive as possible to all citizens; and enhancing the resources available to the community to undertake its work.

20 A qualitative scrutiny Two evaluation methods 1. A qualitative scrutiny of each available course on the virtual learning environment as of the end of scheduled teaching in , to assess how it was being deployed. 2. Student evaluations: student questionnaires delivered by 5 module teams, in weeks 2 and 22 of the 2004 – 05 academic session; and, interviews and on- line focus groups were conducted with students on all five modules in 2004 – 05 and with 42 students in 2005 – 06.

21 A qualitative scrutiny Learning materials “I can’t understand all the words of the teacher and it is good for me to find a lot of information in the [e-environment]. It helps me to understand all the topics”. “trial and error and interactive exercises help me. I find that info is more easily absorbed, and missed slides and forms can be copied.” “I love podcasts – I listen to [radio] podcasts in the car, it changes how I work” The background for participation, in terms of what students would like to see on-line and when, changed over the life-span of a course to become more free-ranging, depending upon the culture of the course.

22 A qualitative scrutiny Managing assessment “I expected to adapt my approach and refer back to comments that would allow me to try to achieve more” “drafting and answers to workshop tasks and handouts or further work relating to the [curriculum]” “It would be useful to have the points done well by not only personal work but other peoples, and positive criticism, to make my work a higher standard [sic.]” The need for interaction with other learners and tutors, and active participation in a shared space grew as a course environment became more familiar.

23 A qualitative scrutiny student-led activities More prominent in subject areas with a tradition of experiential learning: task- defined blogs, wikis, discussion boards. The culture of the course matters. “I liked the fact that group pages were only seen by us and no-one else, and I can find out what the other group members are contributing to the work. We can then decide who to send information to” “[the] organisation meant that we were not being able to work with people who have similar interests. I would have liked direct contact and discussions with [them] in order to have better communication about progress and brainstorming [sic.]”.

24 A qualitative scrutiny On-line access “I don’t have access at home therefore more affluent students benefit… if you don’t live [locally] and you work from home on a dial-up connection it’s painful and tedious to check so many different sites and s”. “Normally the system is very dependable – I may get too dependant on it – then when it’s not there it seems so much worse”. The mechanics of access impact upon an individual’s perception of their environment. An environment that is designed to promote active participation may be restrictive and confining for those with limited access.

25 Activating the space “In our course we are fully multi-media, with sketchbooks, digital cameras, film and photoshop. We need to be able to document this in one place and publish more creative stuff. I want to ask peoples’ opinion. I use MySpace rather than expect feedback in tutorials. We all have MySpace sites – they are more interactive and I can get to know people or even get constructive feedback from strangers. If someone has an opinion it’s great; it’s simple and I get to re-think my space.”

26 Activating the space “In our course we are fully multi-media, with sketchbooks, digital cameras, film and photoshop. We need to be able to document this in one place and publish more creative stuff. I want to ask peoples’ opinion. I use MySpace rather than expect feedback in tutorials. We all have MySpace sites – they are more interactive and I can get to know people or even get constructive feedback from strangers. If someone has an opinion it’s great; it’s simple and I get to re-think my space.” “we need to be able to share ideas and see what is on and showcase our ideas. We need a space that helps us to discover through points of reference, rather than just to chat”.

27 Activating the space “we built the community between us and now I am less apprehensive about getting feedback. It removed the fear of isolation” “a few of us use Skype, especially at assessment time when there was no activity on the assessment [discussion] board” “[we] need social engagement and debates about practice… we set up our own MSN chat room” The challenge of institutional and non-institutional technologies.

28 a ladder of citizen participation in e-environments Learner role in curriculum spaceLevel of learner-participation 8 Learner-control and definition of spaces for knowledge-critique and creation Degrees of free-ranging and active participation 7 Delegated power to learner focused upon tasks negotiated with tutor(s) 6 Partnership between learners and tutors, in a task-driven curriculum 5 Placation of learner needs through information-disseminationDegrees of token participation 4 Consultation with learners about tutor-controlled change 3 Tutors inform learners about curriculum-change 2 Therapeutic use of the space to access informationLimited-participation in a battery- style learning environment, controlled by tutors 1 Restrictive or manipulated learner-involvement

29 Citizens have the right to take the lead in the planning of their own communities. They must also assume the responsibility to arrive at consensus. The planners who assist them must advise them frankly on the feasibility of their ideas and then serve as conduits of their proposals. Elected and appointed officials, for their part, owe them their best effort to enable their proposals and remove legal, bureaucratic or other obstacles (Gentilly Civic Improvement Association, 2006)


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