Activity Theory in student peer support


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I used a framework by Daisy Mwanza (2002) to investigate the Extended Activity System surrounding peer support for Undergraduate students at UCL Computer Science.

Researching E-learning Summer School, 2008/9 part of my PG Cert in Learning Technologies.

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Activity Theory in student peer support

  1. 1. Dave Twisleton Employing Activity Theory to investigate self support for students
  2. 2. About MeSocial Sciences1998Computer ScienceTechnical Support2008
  3. 3. Menu Activity theory overview Relevance to my research Analysis method  AODM (Mwanza 2002) Value Status Follow on
  4. 4. Activity TheorySubject Object
  5. 5. Activity Theory Mediating ToolSubject Object
  6. 6. Activity Theory Mediating ToolSubject Object Community
  7. 7. Activity Theory
  8. 8. Application Technical Support documents Problem classes Student initiated wikis Facebook groups
  9. 9. Activity Oriented Design Method Mwanza 2002  Conceptualising an activity system Eight-Step-Model Activity Notation Method for generating research questions Technique for mapping the activity system.
  10. 10. Data Gathering Student year Technical Support tools Typical problems Formal / informal groups
  11. 11. Eight Step Model Identify the: - Question to AskStep 1 Activity of interest What sort of activity am I interested in?Step 2 Objective Why is the activity taking place?Step 3 Subjects Who is involved in carrying out this activity? By what means are the subjects performingStep 4 Tools this activity? Are there any cultural norms, rules orStep 5 Rules and regulations governing the performance of this Regulations activity? Who is responsible for what, when carrying outStep 6 Division of labour this activity and how are the roles organised? What is the environment in which this activityStep 7 Community is carried out? What is the desired Outcome from carrying outStep 8 Outcome this activity?
  12. 12. Activity NotationActors Mediator Object-ive(Doers) (Purpose) Subjects Tools Object Subjects Rules Object Subjects Division of Labour ObjectCommunity Tools ObjectCommunity Rules ObjectCommunity Division of Labour Object
  13. 13. Generating Questions6 General Questions:•What Rules affect the way the Subjects achieve the Objective and how?•How does the Division of Labour influence the way the Subjects satisfy theirObjective?•What Tools do the Subjects use to achieve their Objective and how?•How do the Tools in use affect the way the Community achieves theObjective?•What Rules affect the way the Community satisfies their Objective and how?•How does the Division of Labour affect the way the Community achievesthe Objective?
  14. 14. Generating Specific Questions
  15. 15. Eureka!
  16. 16. Next step Specific questions Different groups Focus groups?
  17. 17. Follow on New support tools – Wiki? Rules & guidelines for usage developed with students Work with tutors to improve problem classes
  18. 18. Bibliography Mwanza, D. (2002) “Towards an Activity-Oriented Design Method for HCI Research and Practice.” PhD Thesis - The Open University, United Kingdom. Ackerman, M. S. (1994). Augmenting the organizational memory: A field study of answer garden. Proceedings of the CSCW’94 Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 243–252. New York: ACM. Becker, Howard (1958). “Problems of Inference and Proof in Participant Observation.” American Sociological Review, Vol. 23, No. 6 (Dec, 1958), 652-660. Nardi, B.A. (1996) Context and consciousness: activity theory and human-computer interaction / edited by Bonnie A. Nardi. Cambridge, Mass.; London : MIT Press Linda L Briggs, "The Power of Wikis in Higher Ed," Campus Technology, 20/8/2008, Yahoo Design Patterns: