Conflict in virtual learning communities in the context of a democratic pedagogy

Ozturk, Tugba (2011) Conflict in virtual learning communities in the context of a democratic pedagogy. PhD thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

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In this thesis, I discuss conflict in virtual learning communities in the context of a democratic pedagogy. Democratic pedagogies are underpinned with emancipatory educational values through enabling students to participate in governance of their learning processes thus taking responsibility for their own learning. In these communities, knowledge is socially constructed through interactions and negotiations. The method and content of the learning programme are loosely structured in order to fulfill the community members' wishes, interests, ideas, and so on throughout the learning process. Within this framework, my point of departure is that emergence of conflict among the community members is probable given the diverse and sometimes clashing individual differences in participation in the negotiation process; in the loose structure of the programme which brings about uncertainty; and in the nature of the technological environments in which learning takes place. To address these issues, I conducted field work with third year undergraduate students enrolled in a Computer Education and Instructional Technology programme. The field work consists of two staged studies: pilot study and main study. Respectively, a four week course for the pilot study and a fourteen week course for the main study were designed according to learning community principles underpinned with a democratic pedagogy, and students were introduced with their respective learning communities. Throughout the field work, I collected data via interviews, focus group meetings, prepost questionnaires, essays, Moodle logs and field notes. Drawing on my findings, I discuss the dynamics and the roles of conflict in learning through a model of conflict which I developed. This model identifies 3 types of conflict: intrapersonal, interpersonal and socio-cultural. I show how small groups of students in the community experienced different conflict pathways during the course of study. The findings show the importance of taking a holistic, processual view of the emergence of conflict in a learning community. The implications for theory and practice are discussed.

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Thesis (PhD)
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06 Feb 2013 18:48
Last Modified:
12 Sep 2023 00:14