Between 'technological obduracy' and 'academic resistance': concepts of use of blackboard and the experience of university teachers.

Thornton, J 2013, Between 'technological obduracy' and 'academic resistance': concepts of use of blackboard and the experience of university teachers., Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Between 'technological obduracy' and 'academic resistance': concepts of use of blackboard and the experience of university teachers.
Author(s) Thornton, J
Year 2013
Abstract Until recently, Blackboard has been one of the most common forms of learning-management systems (LMSs) in use in Australian universities. However, it has been adopted and used by academics far less than its proponents had anticipated. The literature of academic use of learning-management systems paints a picture, either of a relatively straightforward understanding of adoption of new educational technologies as an informational problem, or alternatively, of problematic academics who ‘resist’ using Blackboard. Academics themselves can understand the technology of Blackboard to be obdurate, time consuming and difficult to use. Drawing on a combination of sensemaking theory, practice theory and the socio-technical theories of social construction of technology and actor network theory, I ask how academics have set about using Blackboard. I clarify how educational technology use in the literature is constructed from diverse perspectives and how users in practice negotiate their way through Blackboard at four levels of encounter: as material infrastructure; as a process of orientation to, and reading of, navigational and interface symbolism; as an individual sensemaking project about representing education; and as an organisational representation and a technical system.

Each level contains capacities for disruption and rebuilding of former habits and sense. “Rebuilding” a new interpretation and an effective use of Blackboard by any individual academic is never certain, as at each level different strategies are required, but rebuilding a notion of technologised education by creating ”genres of use” explains some of the differential in approaches to Blackboard use. At a meta level, this process of creating “use” also elucidates theories of action, practice and social change in practice theory and to a lesser extent in social construction of technology and actor network theory, by adding the insights of sensemaking theory to show how academics build their own concepts of use in an LMS, that can appear obdurate and unwieldy to users. The theoretical purpose is to offer an essay in understanding the processes of socio-technical change where change is not necessarily fostered by technological ease or user self-motivation.

Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Global, Urban and Social Studies
Keyword(s) Educational technology
Blackboard LMS
Learning Management Systems
Sensemaking
Karl Weick
Socio-technical practice
Technology use
Genres of use
Experience of technology use
Deficit theories of technology
technology adoption
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Created: Fri, 18 Jul 2014, 09:58:17 EST by Denise Paciocco
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