Digitally-mediated Doctoral Agency
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Digitally-mediated Doctoral Agency

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Presentation for Losing Momentum? Doctoral students conference at the School of Education, University of Oxford. Hosted by the Learning and New Technologies Research Group.

Presentation for Losing Momentum? Doctoral students conference at the School of Education, University of Oxford. Hosted by the Learning and New Technologies Research Group.

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  • Thanks for sharing this Andy. It resonated with me as I have just started out on the doctoral path and am exploring a similar theme - I'm investigating how academics are utilising social media to extend their own professional learning and hope to use CHAT to analyse this. There are not many people available outside the socialmediasphere who can offer guidance and supervision so I'll probably just stalk people like you for a while - if that's OK?!!
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    Digitally-mediated Doctoral Agency Digitally-mediated Doctoral Agency Presentation Transcript

    • Andy CoverdaleSchool of Education | University of NottinghamDigitally-mediated Doctoral Agency: How PhD students are using socialmedia to negotiate academic practices and identities________________________________________________________Losing Momentum? Current Challenges in Learning and TechnologyDepartment of Education | Oxford University14 June 2012
    • Doctoral Agency________________________________________________________Human Agency“The power of people to act purposively and reflectively, in more or less complexinterrelationships with one another, to reiterate and remake the world in which they live.”(Inden, 1990: 23)Human agency “happens daily and mundanely” (Holland et al, 1998)A ‘cultural view’ of learning (Bruner, 1996)• Construction of a conceptual system that ‘organises’ a record of agentic encounters• Performed through knowledge and skills acquisition in specific settings• Interrelated with identity developmentDoctoral Contexts• Socialisation and enculturation into specific fields of academic enquiry• Transformation of identity• Positionality – locating oneself in the ‘field’• Doctoral research cultures – (inter)disciplinary, supervisory, departmental, peer group
    • Key Motivations for Research________________________________________________________What is ‘doing a PhD’?• Holistic and authentic models of doctoral practice• Key phases in doctoral study across multiple practice contextsEcological perspective of social media• Contextualised and situated approach• The multiplicity, interrelatedness and transiency of social media practice• PLE as an idealised and consensual conceptual modelProfiling and sampling participants• The reality of low adoption rates and lack of widespread use• Inclusive approach to social media users and user contexts
    • Research Design________________________________________________________ParticipantsSix PhD students:• Different stages of PhD• Humanities, Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary• Based in ‘traditional’ Faculty and Doctoral Training Centres (DTCs)Data Collection15-month data collection period:• Logging all digital artefacts (blog posts, tweets etc.)• Field notes• Participant-reported accounts• Three interviews with each participant (90-120 mins. per interview)
    • Analytical Framework________________________________________________________Activity Theory• Social, cultural and historical perspective of doctoral practices• Culturally-mediated, object-oriented activity systems• Objects are emergent and partly shared, fragmented and contestedData Analysis• Used as a descriptive analytical framework• Multiple and interrelated activity systems• Open coding and ‘thick description’Agency in Activity Systems• Object-oriented ‘interagency’• Development of cultural artefacts• Figured worlds and genre knowledge
    • Activity Systems Development________________________________________________________
    • Cultural Artefact Development________________________________________________________Genre Studies• Socio-cultural fork of Genre Studies (e.g. Berkenkotter & Huckin, 1993)• Traditions of using tools rather than artefact categorisation• Development of ‘genre knowledge’ as cultural toolsFigured Worlds (Holland et al., 1998)• Historical, socially enacted and culturally constructed in recognised frames of social life• Space of authoring’ (Bakhtin) – mutual shaping of figured worlds
    • Key Findings________________________________________________________Developing Cultural Artefacts as Agentic Tools• Purposes , contexts and stages of the PhDAgentic Contexts• Agency exists within and across multiple and interrelated practice contexts• Boundary crossing and interdisciplinary activities• Peripheral and thesis-oriented workLoci of Agency• Networked individualism vs. community development• Relational agency (Edwards, 2008); Collective competency (Hakkarainen et al. 2004)
    • Key Findings________________________________________________________“Privileged Insight”• Social media practices within and across figured worlds increase authenticity of agencyPartiality of Participatory Contexts• Social media practices within and across figured worlds increase authenticity of agency• Agency may be partially realised in figured worlds with limited social media adoption• Greater reliability when integrated with other doctoral practices• Dominant parties, discourses and cultural practicesAmbiguity of Participatory Contexts• Interactive vs. broadcast metaphors of social media engagement• Identifiable and ‘imagined’ audiences
    • ThanksAndy CoverdaleBlog: http://www.phdblog.netTwitter: @andycoverdaleSupervisors: Gordon Joyes & Charles Crook