Promising virtues in the virtual classroom : metaphors on trial

Doherty, Catherine A. (2004) Promising virtues in the virtual classroom : metaphors on trial. In McWilliam, Eric, Danby, Susan, & Knight, John (Eds.) Performing Educational Research : Theories, Methods and Practices. Post Pressed, Flaxton, Qld, pp. 105-122.

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The utopian promise of the virtual classroom has been sustained by the metaphors ingrained in a persuasuve discourse shaping online learning. This discourse promotes an orthodoxy of a singular pedagogy married to technological affordances rather than to any instructional content, student body or pedagogical context. This study explores the limits of the now commonplace metaphors in this discourse: virtual 'commuinity, virtual 'classroom' and online 'discussion'. The rhetoric of utopian, imaginary visions of cyberspace's pedagogical possibilities is contrasted with empirical accounts of the vicissitudes of pedagogical itneraction in virtual environments, and with other theorizations of what constitutes 'community', 'classroom', and 'discussion'. The analysis explores how these concepts work as metaphors, and what such metaphors selectively choose not to represent. The analysis explores whether what is talked up in the enthusiastic discourse of online learning warrants the virtues of its metaphors, or is performing the work of simulation. The paper suggests that this discourse of a singular pedagogy unnecessarily limits the discursive resources available to teachers and cannot adequately reflect the potential diversity and relational properties of pedagogic relations in electronic environments.

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ID Code: 19698
Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional URLs:
Keywords: virtual community, virutal classroom, online discussion, metaphor
ISBN: 1876682612
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > SPECIALIST STUDIES IN EDUCATION (130300) > Educational Technology and Computing (130306)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100) > Higher Education (130103)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > Curriculum and Pedagogy Theory and Development (130202)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Past > Schools > School of Cultural & Language Studies in Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2004 Catherine A. Doherty
Deposited On: 24 Apr 2009 03:27
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2010 15:49

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