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Book part
Publication date: 7 October 2019

Jonathan Tummons

Bruno Latour, one of the architects of actor-network theory, has now enfolded this approach within a larger project, An Inquiry into Modes of Existence – AIME. Framed as…

Abstract

Bruno Latour, one of the architects of actor-network theory, has now enfolded this approach within a larger project, An Inquiry into Modes of Existence – AIME. Framed as an empirical inquiry into the ontological and epistemological conditions of modernity, Latour argues for a radical shift in how “objective truth,” “scientific fact,” and “meaning” are established within the world. In this chapter, I draw on several elements of AIME to illustrate how Latour’s ontology, building on, augmenting and responding to criticisms of actor-network theory, can be used to explore higher education, focussing on one episode derived from a larger ethnography of medical education.

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Theory and Method in Higher Education Research
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83867-842-5

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Article
Publication date: 2 September 2014

Vicky Duckworth and Jonathan Tummons

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146

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Education + Training, vol. 56 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

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Book part
Publication date: 17 November 2017

Jonathan Tummons

In this chapter, I outline the key tenets of institutional ethnography (IE) as a framework for interpretivist social research. Through drawing not only on the key tenets…

Abstract

In this chapter, I outline the key tenets of institutional ethnography (IE) as a framework for interpretivist social research. Through drawing not only on the key tenets of IE but also on the key findings and conclusions of the different chapters – empirical and conceptual – that make up the present volume, I argue for a critical reappraisal of IE. Through turning the IE lens of enquiry onto IE itself, I foreground the problematic within IE, and also the need to attend to the standpoint of IE. Finally, I consider the position of IE in terms of theory more broadly, as well as social theory more specifically, through focussing on the ways in which IE can be augmented through the use of other, compatible, theoretical, and/or methodological perspectives such as critical discourse analysis, actor-network theory, semiotics, and participatory and community models of research.

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Perspectives on and from Institutional Ethnography
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-653-2

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Book part
Publication date: 25 April 2014

Jonathan Tummons

There is considerable variety in the use and citation of Wenger’s framework of communities of practice in educational research. In some cases, citations and references to…

Abstract

There is considerable variety in the use and citation of Wenger’s framework of communities of practice in educational research. In some cases, citations and references to Wenger’s work are superficial and lack meaningful theoretical application. In others, citations and use of Wenger’s work are critical and insightful, thoughtfully applying Wenger’s framework to a range of educational settings. The effect of these variable uses is a conceptual slippage that leads to the framework being misapplied, misunderstood and over-simplified. In this chapter I foreground the under-used idea of learning architectures. A learning architecture consists of an assemblage of components that may allow learning to take place. Such an assemblage might consist of a place (rooms, workshops, facilities), tools and equipment (textbooks, materials, handbooks, reading lists) and activities that require and encourage mutual engagement (seminars, tutorials, group presentations). In this chapter, drawing on previously published ethnographic research, one teacher-training course is used to model a learning architecture approach. At the same time, the chapter introduces and resolves one of the more contested aspects of Wenger’s framework, namely the position of pedagogy and assessment within a community of practice.

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Theory and Method in Higher Education Research II
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-823-5

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Book part
Publication date: 3 November 2014

Jonathan Tummons

This chapter aims to explicate the use of computer software for qualitative data analysis. Drawing on both a review of relevant literature and a reflexive commentary on an…

Abstract

Purpose

This chapter aims to explicate the use of computer software for qualitative data analysis. Drawing on both a review of relevant literature and a reflexive commentary on an ongoing ethnography, this chapter argues that the use of computer software for qualitative data analysis facilitates rigour and reliability in research, whilst also contributing to wider debates regarding the distinctions made between different research paradigms.

Design/methodology/approach

The chapter is divided into two sections. In the first, a review of literature pertaining to the use of computer software for qualitative data analysis is reported. The key themes to emerge from this review are then explored in the second section, which consists of a reflexive commentary on the use of computer software for qualitative data analysis within an ongoing three-year Canadian/UK research project.

Findings

The chapter concludes firstly by foregrounding the methodological benefits of using computer software for qualitative data analysis, and secondly by commenting on wider debates relating to the historical distinctions between quantitative and qualitative research paradigms.

Practical implications

The chapter suggests that the uptake of computer software for qualitative data analysis should be considered as an integral element of the research design process.

Originality/value

The originality of this chapter rests in its focus on methodology rather than method, on a reflexive discussion of the place of computer software within the research process rather than a technical description of how software should be used. This chapter is of value not only to researchers who are using or considering using software for their research, but also to researchers who are engaged in wider methodological discussions relating to qualitative and quantitative research paradigms, and to research quality and generalisability.

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Big Data? Qualitative Approaches to Digital Research
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78441-050-6

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Book part
Publication date: 17 November 2017

Abstract

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Perspectives on and from Institutional Ethnography
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-653-2

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Article
Publication date: 2 September 2014

Juliet Millican

The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of rising fees and the increasing privatisation of higher education on the expectations of its students. It compares…

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1713

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of rising fees and the increasing privatisation of higher education on the expectations of its students. It compares experiences in Canada, Australia and the US with conversations carried out in a UK university in 2012 (after the UK fee rise).

Design/methodology/approach

The research was informed by Burns Systemic Action research (2007), following emerging lines of enquiry and responding to resonance in these. It brings together conversations held with new undergraduates, second and third year students and staff tasked with introducing engagement into the curriculum.

Findings

Findings indicate that student expectations are heavily influenced by secondary schooling and a target-driven consumer culture but that change has been gradual over a number of years. Alongside wanting “value for money” and “a good social life and a good degree” students are heavily motivated by experience and keen to be challenged.

Research limitations/implications

Because of the research approach, the research results may lack generalisability.

Practical implications

By comparing banking or transactional approaches to teaching and learning with critical pedagogy this paper hopes to highlight the importance of opening up rather than closing down opportunities for social engagement and experiential learning.

Social implications

This paper makes a plea for social engagement that properly responds to the needs of communities resisting market-driven forces that treat students as consumers and expecting more rather than less from them in return.

Originality/value

Lecturers are encouraged to rethink the pressures placed upon them by the current economic era and the tensions between competing agendas of employability and engagement.

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Article
Publication date: 2 September 2014

Gillian Bailey

The purpose of this paper is to examine how the culture of teacher accountability has been intensified in further education (FE) under neo-liberalist policy, with the…

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687

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine how the culture of teacher accountability has been intensified in further education (FE) under neo-liberalist policy, with the result that the student-teacher relationship has shifted to one of supplier-consumer. The paper focuses on the impact which this shift has had on teachers’ pedagogical practice and employment prospects.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws on data gathered during a three-year ethnographic study which focused on the experiences of trainee and newly qualified teachers working in the FE sector. The data were generated from naturally occurring evidence including reflective diaries, lesson observations and class discussions.

Findings

The findings suggest that target-driven college cultures are creating conditions which encourage teachers to “play safe” in terms of pedagogical practice whilst students are becoming increasingly dependent on teacher-led direction in a bid to achieve targets. Not only are teachers being held increasingly accountable for their students’ results but their employment prospects are also dependent on them.

Research limitations/implications

Although based on a small-scale study, the findings are of sufficient significance to stimulate debate and future research around the issue of how neo-liberalist policy impacts on practice in FE.

Practical implications

The paper suggests that for both FE teachers and their students, creative thinking and experimentation may be at risk from the impact of such policy.

Originality/value

This paper goes beyond existing critiques of accountability: it argues that as teachers’ employment prospects become increasingly dependent on student results, both teachers and their students are vulnerable to focusing on risk-free practices which jeopardise the potential for innovation and autonomy.

Details

Education + Training, vol. 56 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

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Article
Publication date: 2 September 2014

Christopher Bajada and Rowan Trayler

The social and economic disadvantages confronted by many Indigenous Australians are well known. A close look at Indigenous employment highlights that Indigenous…

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1094

Abstract

Purpose

The social and economic disadvantages confronted by many Indigenous Australians are well known. A close look at Indigenous employment highlights that Indigenous Australians are substantially under-represented in the technical and professional areas of business and management. Closing the gap and improving the social and economic outcomes requires a greater focus in these areas. The purpose of this paper is to outline the design of an innovative undergraduate business degree for Indigenous students that: meets the targets set by government, produces the “T-shaped” graduate expected by business (disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge and soft skills), addresses the employment needs of the Indigenous community and provides the building blocks for Indigenous students to enrol in post-graduate business courses. Australians is well known. A close look at Indigenous employment highlights that Indigenous Australians are substantially under-represented in the technical and professional areas of business and management. Closing the gap and improving the social and economic outcomes requires a greater focus in these areas. This paper outlines the design of an innovative undergraduate business degree for Indigenous students that: (i) meets the targets set by government; (ii) produces the “T-shaped” graduate expected by business (disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge and soft skills); (iii) addresses the employment needs of the Indigenous community; and (iv) provides the building blocks for Indigenous students to enrol in post-graduate business courses.

Design/methodology/approach

The development of the Bachelor of Business Administration (Indigenous) provided an opportunity to address the needs of Indigenous Australians in a curriculum that is not only interdisciplinary but also taught by indigenous and non-Indigenous academics. The paper outlines how the review was shaped, the innovative mode of delivery and the interdisciplinary nature of the curriculum. Administration (Indigenous) provided an opportunity to address the needs of Indigenous Australians in a curriculum that is not only interdisciplinary but also taught by indigenous and non-Indigenous academics.

Findings

This course provides an integrated approach to business education focusing on the professional, technical and managerial roles in business that is in such short supply in Indigenous communities. The course contextualises the study of business within an Indigenous perspective to demonstrate how Indigenous studies not only contributes to empowering the individual but also how business education plays a critical role in repositioning Indigenous people in their local communities and society more broadly empowering the individual but also how business education plays a critical role in repositioning Indigenous people in their local communities and society more broadly.

Originality/value

This paper demonstrates an integrated approach to business education focusing on the professional, technical and managerial roles in business that are in short supply in Indigenous communities.

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Article
Publication date: 2 September 2014

Maryam H. El-Shall

The purpose of this paper is to examines the history and goals of online instruction in higher education by linking them to the neoliberal agenda emerging at the end of…

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1037

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examines the history and goals of online instruction in higher education by linking them to the neoliberal agenda emerging at the end of the 1980s and early 1990s. Here, the author argues that the move toward more online, socially mediated instruction in higher education is symptomatic of larger socio-political and economic constraints that have been placed upon the academy.

Design/methodology/approach

The author demonstrates the practical impact of neoliberal shifts in higher education with the emergence of the online for-profit institution – The University of Phoenix. Here, the author shows the ways in which the advent of the internet, together with the expansion of social – both individual and institutional – networks, come together with neoliberal shifts in government to simultaneously render the university both more and less relevant as an institution. The author limits analysis to the language of connectivity and networking evident in online educational settings to highlight more directly the broader shifts in taking place in the contemporary academy surrounding the tension between professional integrity and institutional marketability produced by the proliferation of online, for-profit colleges and universities.

Findings

In part four, the author argues that the institutional response to this state of affairs has been to both expand and limit the mission of the university from a space of formal education to a site of biopolitical production, where students come not merely to earn a degree in anticipation of landing a job, but also, to learn to configure and manage themselves.

Practical implications

In the concluding section, the author explores the professional implications of these changes through an analysis of the popular professor rating site – Rate My Professors.

Originality/value

The approach the author takes in this paper enables us to more closely exam the ways in which neoliberal mandates for quantifiable measures of institutional “effectiveness” center on a fundamental restructuring of the instructor-student relationship toward a service model wherein the instructor becomes the manager of emotions whose goal is connect with students and so model the kind of affective flexibility and resourcefulness they in turn will requires when joining the workforce.

Details

Education + Training, vol. 56 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0040-0912

Keywords

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