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Technostructural Knowledge: making pedagogy count in the technology-rich university

Presentation for the Research-Informed Teaching Conference, Staffordshire University, 14th July 2010
by

Drew Whitworth

on 13 July 2010

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Transcript of Technostructural Knowledge: making pedagogy count in the technology-rich university

Technostructural Knowledge:
making pedagogy count in
the technology-rich university 1. Research design Origins lie with Cervero &
Wilson's work in adult
education planning How are interests expressed
around the 'planning table'? These may be negotiated in
formalised sessions... ...but systems also evolve through
'micr0-moments' of teaching
practice and (group or individual)
reflection on that practice What happens when practice
becomes embedded into a
TECHNOSTRUCTURE
(Mintzberg, 1989)? How might that restrict practice or planning in the future? We investigated six case studies of
online programs in the UK and US... ...asking people about their experience
of online teaching, technology and
planning 2. Responsive vs. directive This was the initial distinction
we made between our case
studies Some systems were able to respond
easily when changes were requested
or required These were the systems where:
there was local-level technical support
the team retained ownership of the software
there was ongoing evaluation and enquiry This was a factor of the choice
of VLE... but also of social
aspects of the system Also, a system could be responsive
to some members of a team, but
directive for others A responsive system was advantageous in
terms of research-informed teaching What, then, was happening when
responsiveness was retained? 3. The role of capital Capital represents resources one
can expend in order to shape
activity As distance learning programs, all our
cases had basically started out as
innovations, and required initial capital
funding (as opposed to developing
'naturally' from ongoing activities) Financial capital is only one form
of capital, however... Human resources were important...
having access to the skills required
to integrate system and practice Hence the importance of:
local-level technical support
a culture of enquiry, experimentation
and evaluation However, these were not alone enough
to 'protect' the local-level system being
appropriated by the technostructure. To explain this we turn to
ideas developed by Pierre
Bourdieu in his study of
academic culture ('Homo
Academicus'). For Bourdieu, power in the
university environment derives
from either
scientific capital
or academic capital
Often these can be mutually exclusive. Academic capital denotes the ability
to have one's interests represented
in decision making and planning. cf. Schon's analysis of how lawyers
'got their way' not through legal skills
but through bargaining and negotiation:
'it's not what you know, it's who you know' 4. Examples 5. Conclusions PAP ('Public Administration Program' UKeU

Directive,
commercial
VLE
Moodle - serendipity,
social networks

Became more responsive
over time as capital invested
& learning undertaken Blackboard...

... a technostructural
intervention We focused on VLEs... but there are generalisable implications for all technologies in higher education But... PAP were able
to reject the change Arguments were made on
pedagogical grounds - but to
NEGOTIATE these interests
required more than just
technological and pedagogical
knowledge Mishra and Koehler suggested
that the 21st century teacher
needs a combination of skills
they call 'TPCK' Academic capital is increasingly manifested in technology... ...but its impact goes beyond
teaching... To have it be responsive (support)
rather than directive (technostructural),
one must evaluate, and thus learn, about its impact on the whole of academic life The 'T' should stand for
TECHNOSTRUCTURAL
knowledge... ...the possession of which diffuses academic
capital more widely throughout the university... ...and, we propose, retaining
creativity and teaching quality
regardless of the technology-in-use. Drew Whitworth: andrew.whitworth@manchester.ac.uk
&
Angela Benson: abenson@bamaed.ua.edu Andrew Whitworth, University of Manchester
Angela Benson, University of Alabama
Full transcript