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Engaging Learners in Academic Discourse: the role of the vle in helping students to find a voice

Bettina Woodroffe Fiona Hallett with Dr Franc Potter

Edge Hill University,


Originally, the intention of this paper and the presentation to which it relates was to share the experiences of a novice academic and her attempt to engage teacher- researchers in academic discourse, and to invite critical interrogation of preliminary findings and insights.

In the context of widening participation, much research has been undertaken in the area of undergraduate experience, and the enhancement of that learning experience through innovative use of technologies.

Despite the growing graduate diversity, likewise recorded, there has been rather less investigation into postgraduates’ experience, in the context of Lifelong Learning and Professional Development, of transition to study at masters level, and perceptions of their own confidence and competence to relate this meaningfully to their professional practice, and to ‘write academically’.

This account hoped to share the observations of a facilitator of such developments, herself aspiring to enhance her own practice in partnership with colleague(s), and to discuss and raise questions around the use of a virtual learning environment as a platform for the collaborative creation of learning objects, which focuses on students’ use of and response to writing support frameworks, designed to promote a willingness among participants - increasingly distance learners - to explore academic discourses and voices. Drawing on the experiences of colleagues in the field, the project sought to move away from the use of electronic media to replicate the kind of discussion which might take place in face-to-face contexts, and towards an emphasis on writing as a form

of individual but public enquiry, and in particular a formative process which mitigates the (perceived) outcome orientation of participants, whose tendency to approach writing as a single stage, ‘end-loaded’ operation restricts its purpose to that of a vehicle for

summative assessment.

not gone to plan, the reasons for which the tutor-participants determined to address in a

In fact, what will be reported, ultimately, is a project that has

perhaps somewhat unorthodox fashion, exploring the extent to which we share an understanding of the conceptual underpinnings of our e-learning approaches ……


On-line learning; collaboration; social constructivism; academic discourse

Engaging Learners in Academic Discourse: the role of the vle in helping students to find a voice

We offer the following unexpurgated record of our own written on-line discussion, in the same spirit that was the genesis of this project: that is, having committed ourselves to the construction of a learning experience based around a problematic question, itself born of a frank exchange of views, frustrations and reflections on current practice, we have embarked on a journey of critical re-appraisal and collaborative re-examination of our own approaches to conducting academic discourse. In consequence, we set out our willingness to be provisional, and a preparedness to subject to public scrutiny and interrogation, in a way which is truly consonant with a genuinely constructivist philosophy.

This experiment was deliberately and consciously conceived in such a way that we, as tutor-learners, would expose ourselves not to the same but to similarly robust challenges, both affective and intellectual, as our students are likely to face in the process, in which we hope to be able to engage them. We believe that, in order to be able to engage effectively in the dialogic encounter with students, in way that is ethical and authentic, we should be able to share and model a lived experience on which to reflect, and the lessons from which will inform future practice. This requires us to destabilise our own perspectives, and identify and unsettle our own and each others’ assumptions.

At the time of spinning these seemingly disparate threads, it is hoped that more colleagues will join us (either by invitation or as they become alert to this debate conducted in a portal shared by all), to weave their own strands into this narrative tapestry.

From this we hope will emerge a richer understanding of the discursive process itself, and implications for the development of on-line personality, (cyber-self?). The experience is already providing fertile ground for the growth of reflection and opportunities for further interrogation of shared - and divergent - conceptual standpoints, which may, or may not, be influenced by wider contextual tensions, ambiguities and paradoxes.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007 9:52am

The following question has been negotiated with Fiona Hallett, and we will be attempting to engage in a dialogue in addressing it, the purpose being to attempt to clarify our understanding of some of what has - and more crucially has not - taken place in the vle (webCT) environment, concerning students' engagement with tasks or activities, devised and designed to develop their own focus on an area of inquiry into



'In search of social constructivism: can we find it in the vle?'

Friday, March 9, 2007 10:44am Firstly, let us address the complexities and potential ambiguities of this question. The institutional Teaching and Learning strategy appears to emphasise Social Constructivism as the predominant underlying approach at Edge Hill, and, it is my experience, that Social Constructivism is widely cited in definitive course documents at validation. However, I am concerned that shared meaning is at best, taken for granted, and, at worst absent.

If the adoption of Social Constructivism requires an assumption that ‘the central fact about our psychology is the fact of mediation’ (Vygotsky 1978:166) we need to consider the implications of this when designing learning experiences. Equally, if we view H.E. students as naturally inhabiting a ‘zone of proximal development’, it follows that emphasis should fall on learners actively constructing knowledge and meaning through participating in activities and challenges, with an added emphasis on the interaction between learners and facilitators in order to arrive at a higher level of understanding. Thus, I would suggest that, if we are to develop Socially Constructivist learning experiences, we need to consider: the nature of the learner; the role of the facilitator; the learning process; and the selection, scope and sequencing of the substantive content.

Would you agree with this list? Do you see it as hierarchical? Fiona

Friday, March 16, 2007 8:35am I will need to consider your posting, and reflect a little in the light, also, of discussions with another critical friend about very similar issues, and our (institutional) misconstruction of ZPD - not least regarding the necessary intersection between one person's 'core' of knowledge, skill, understanding etc, and the other's ZPD, if the latter is to derive genuine 'growth' benefit from the interaction with the former. Hence, any group 'activity', although it might be ostensibly 'collaborative', might not produce 'collaborative learning', unless such personal conditions are present. And this does raise questions with regard to the role (and status / position) of the facilitator / moderator of such opportunities, the implications for hierarchical structures within the process of 'knowledge creation', and our own awareness of our students' relative positions

I, too, have been doing some reading around these issues (plus need to share some

reflections on further comments and behaviours of my students), so shall try to return to

this discussion later today, or at the latest, tomorrow


Friday, March 16, 2007 10:57am Hi Bettina, are we saying that any facilitator needs to consider the moral / ethical implications of developing socially constructivist learning activities? Fiona

Friday, March 16, 2007 6:15pm Having reflected further, I am interested in the comment you make about ‘the intersection between one person's 'core' of knowledge, skill, understanding etc, and the other's ZPD, if the latter is to derive genuine 'growth' benefit from the interaction with the former.’ Whilst I accept that Vygotsky described ZPD as being a state in which students can, with help from teachers or peers who are more advanced, master concepts and ideas that they cannot understand on their own (Vygotsky 1978) I would contest that we need to analyse this further if we are to avoid a simplistic response that would define ‘advanced’ in prejudicial terms. For example, would you say that the Oxford Tutorial model (Palfreyman 2002) represents social constructivism more closely than an activity

that encouraged peer debate around a common interest?


Sunday, March 18, 2007 9:34am I have some thoughts around that (on a Sunday morning, it's feeling quite difficult to

integrate those with some ideas I was jotting down on Friday night)

later this morning

discussion, the better to be able to contemplate the issues raised, inform my responses with further reading, and compose something worthy of 'publication' (as opposed to the

speech this forum is designed (?) to replicate

and I will post

I am also finding myself tempted to download and print our


Back in an hour or so


Sunday, March 18, 2007 11:54am The teaching and learning review has thrown up various comments with regard to the

'better use' that can be made of webCT - not least this begs the question whether we are conflating webCT with vle or with e-learning; the implication appears often to be that

webCT, somehow magically, is a teaching and learning strategy per se an aside.

Additionally, we ask ourselves how the qualities of face-to-face discussion can be

replicated in or transferred to a virtual learning space, and how 'interaction' can be promoted. I should like to re-examine what exactly those qualities are thought to be, and suggest that we might need to challenge the extent to which 'learning' and

I should also like to

'knowledge creation' actually take place in that

reconceptualise our aims and objectives on a postgraduate masters module /


It could be argued that central to our programme is the development of criticality. The vocational imperative of our Masters (being in Education as part of students'

but that as

professional development) implies that the criticality is reflective

f2f 'sessions' on critical examination is of an exchange of views, and clarification of opinion, an opportunity to acknowledge one's relative position or stance in respect of a

particular issue, when sharing spontaneous reactions to it and its relevance to professional practice with fellow practitioners, in the context of a social intercourse sustained by the contiguous presence of participants and moderated / orchestrated by the tutor. Where discussion is lively, and a certain dynamic emerges, as a tutor, it is tempting to infer some collective act of learning (which can also the case in vle discussion threads - reference to follow). [1]

However, can we necessarily attribute the construction of meaning - other than our own - to a series of speech acts, unless participants themselves have individually and share an understanding of criticality? (reference to follow - Felix - a good read re

constructivism - social or cognitive - your demands for clarification …

How do we move the discussion on and facilitate the shift of voice from the personal / professional to the academic? (reference to follow) [3]

How do we scaffold (reference to follow) students' critical thinking (which may be manifesting itself in the classroom interchanges) to enable the articulation of academic discourse, which is predicated on constant challenge; nothing is taken for granted, everything is contestable, every concept requires deconstruction, unpacking, re-


At the heart of participation in postgraduate learning is the mastery of the form and function of academic discourse, in which the student makes public and constructively shares the meaning created by moving out of the comfort zone, and engaging with the unfamiliar or, as you said, 'embracing the messiness'

My students have almost unanimously resisted the call to 'publication' support and scaffold the shift from professional to academic voice

the medium for communication sit in that necessary shift written act?

Perhaps I am working towards a definition of the 'e' in learning as being explicit, and expectation (enunciation)

I would also like to look at the implications of activity theory (as I currently understand it

- introduced to me by a colleague

of learning, begins as content of that learning (reference to follow); thus, should we be

'teaching criticality' as content much more explicitly

How do we integrate critical reading into our expectations of discussion? I am feeling this myself - that is, the need to read away from the discussion to inform my next response and thereby move the discussion on

I am moving massively out of my comfort zone (experimentally) by leaving these as jottings to which to return later

my experience of



I failed to where does

i.e. from speech to the


where, it seems, what ultimately becomes a tool

Meanwhile, the Oxford tutorial

implications does this have for students' preparation for such three hour meetings

what extent do we actually, in those sessions, challenge robustly, unsettle, destabilise students' assumptions, and how do we enable them to prepare for such interrogation? Without a critical understanding of what 'goes on' in those f2f interactions, how can we

construct appropriate forums, activities, learning objects and challenges in the vle?

I will have to be back later! Bee

we speak of sessions, not seminars. What


Monday, March 19, 2007 9:11pm Bettina, you pose a range of powerful questions, but, before I attempt a response to any of the explicit and specific questions that you are expressing, I need clarification on your position.

We initially agreed on a question around Social Constructivism, but I remain unsure as to your position on, or definition of, Social Constructivism. Reading your comments around collaborative ‘learning’ and knowledge construction, I am inclined towards an interpretation of your thinking that reflects Cognitive Constructivism (Piaget 1963), rather than Social Constructivism as defined by Vygotsky, Durkheim, Wittgenstein etc. I think that this theoretical positioning is important to tease out if we are to avoid misinterpretation as I am increasingly aware that as I am using a Vygotskian definition of Social Constructivism, then I am inclined to assume that you must be doing the same.

Whilst this may seem somewhat pedantic, I think that my confusion mirrors some of the issues that need addressing when developing learning opportunities.

In addition, where you cite Activity Theory are you talking about Engestrom?

I am surprised that I need this theoretical backdrop, I had not anticipated this, but am

increasingly aware that if we are to derive any benefit from this debate then we must, at least, have a level of shared meaning and understanding with respect to defining the terms that are so often mis-represented.

Now to the specific; you ask how we scaffold students' critical thinking (which may be manifesting itself in the classroom interchanges) to enable the articulation of academic discourse, which is predicated on constant challenge.

I agree that if we are to use a Vygotskian model of Social Constructivism, then this

concept of scaffolding must be central to our thinking when planning teaching and learning activities. I would suggest that one form of scaffolding would be to ask students to analyse and articulate how far a given theory can be used to explain an aspect of their practice in order to create meaning in ways that students can make their own (Hausfather, 1996). These analyses should be open to question and interrogation by other experienced practitioners (Engestrom 1999) which supports your thinking around

Activity Theory which was developed to illustrate the role of society in shaping the mind of the individual.

Therefore, perhaps Engestrom’s Activity Theory (ibid), is more useful than Social Constructivism (S.C) when analysing teaching and learning experiences due, in part, to the inherent commitments of S.C. that are not present in Activity Theory.

What do you think?

Sorry to back-track but I believe that we need a shared understanding of the theoretical positions that inform our respective teaching and learning before we can analyse how

far these aims can be achieved on-line.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007 2:50pm It is easier for the Oxford Tutorial model to exemplify a social constructivist form of learning than peer debate around a common interest, if for no other reason than there is more likely to be an overlap of the student’s zoped with the tutor’s core knowledge (assuming a 1:1 tutorial – but even with a 2:1 tutorial this would be true) – see the attached Word document [see Appendix A] for my attempt at a diagrammatic representation of the overlap (I hope it makes sense – it’s my second attempt, I realised in time that my first attempt was not at all helpful) and a reference.

This overlap does not guarantee success, for another condition has to be satisfied, and that is that the tutor should have the ability to scaffold the student (to ‘get down to their level’ in common parlance).

I would also suggest that a group tutorial (given an experienced tutor who knows the students) will usually be better than a peer debate, partly because the tutor will be actively concerned with developing the students’ understandings – whereas the students will usually be more concerned with their own understandings. However, this raises two interesting and related questions

1. in what ways can we help students make the most of the overlap between their

zopeds and the core knowledge of others in a peer debate (an aspect of learning how to learn)?

2. in what ways can we encourage students to help other students in this manner (e.g.

by acting as e-moderators in an online environment)

Answers on an e-postcard, please Franc

PS Can I make a plea for colleagues to provide references – e.g. I don’t think I know the reference to Palfreyman (2002), Fiona, though the name rings a bell. Thanks PPS I prefer ZOPED to ZPD because ZPD works better for the American Zee than the English Zed. ZedPD makes me think of police (Z cars and American police series - e.g.


riding past and waving 'Ciao' (you have to be an Eddie Izzard fan to understand that!)

Whereas ZOPED brings to mind the much more pleasant image of Italians

Friday, March 23, 2007 7:55am Dear Franc / Bettina, firstly let me give the full Palfreyman reference.

Palfreyman, D (2002) (Ed.) think’ Oxford:OXCHEPS

THE OXFORD TUTORIAL:‘Thanks, you taught me how to

I would like to address your questions Franc, which, I think, are central to our thinking around the construction of on-line tasks.

Firstly, you ask ‘in what ways can we help students make the most of the overlap between their zopeds and the core knowledge of others in a peer debate’

What I find difficult to accept in the Vygotskian view (exemplified by the model proffered by Lewis 1997) is the suggestion that the teacher can scaffold the students’ learning but that the student cannot scaffold the teachers’ learning, which I think implies that the ‘expert’ cannot learn from the ‘novice’. This would leave us in a difficult position. How can we set up on-line activities which do not compromise the learning of the stronger


Richard Dawkins (in Palfreyman 2002) describes the value of the Oxford Tutorial as coming ‘not from listening to what the tutor has to say (as if a tutorial were a private lecture), but from preparing to write essays, from writing them, and from arguing about them in an unrushed session afterwards. It is the feeling that one’s essay will be valued and discussed that makes the writing seem worthwhile’ (p.33)

Therefore, perhaps we should be encouraging students to prepare position statements; short essays; critiques of articles etc that they could share with each other (either face to face or on-line) and with the tutor as a starting point for debate. In this way, we would not be focussing on the ability of the student to scaffold a peer, but on an activity which initially allows ‘self-scaffolding’ and can then be used as a starting point for socially constructivist learning.

What do you both think?


Wednesday, March 21, 2007 2:56pm This discussion thread has come at a very timely moment for me. A couple of weeks ago I suggested that the T&L cluster group might tackle this very topic in a f2f seminar.

I included the following in a private email to C:


How about a seminar where we probe more deeply into some of the aspects of teaching

and learning that we tend to 'bandy about' without REALLY examining what they mean - I'm thinking of concepts like social constructivism, scaffolding, ZPDs/ZOPEDs etc. In the FoE they are the 'right answers' in DCDs etc., but I have never heard anyone discussing

them in any depth

than closed questioning etc


This all links to Activity Theory, distributed cognition, open rather

Well, it seems there is a discussion going already, right here!

Reading through this thread all in one go I get the feeling that so many issues have been raised in so short a time that I am finding it difficult to cope, and to know where to start.

I’d be surprised if we did not end up discussing Activity Theory, it being an extension of Vygotsky, but I also think that discussing this prematurely is likely to get in the way rather than help – I’d like to suggest that we need to attain a shared understanding of social constructivism first, before broadening out.

It may be the case that our understandings of social constructivism are different, because different sources will have different ‘takes’ on this. I have read more about Neil Mercer and his co-workers’ take on this, and he describes his as a neo-Vygotskian framework (so perhaps my understanding will be different from yours?)

For this reasons I’d like to suggest that we discuss this through a common source. I’m open to suggestions about the source, but I am going to suggest a chapter from a book (which happens to be an e-book) by Wegerif and Scrimshaw and to paste some extracts from this into this posting.

Then I’m going to make some observations in a separate posting about issues relating to overlaps of zopeds and Oxford tutorials etc.

Here is the reference

Mercer, N. and Fisher, E (1997) The Importance of Talk. In: Wegerif, R. and Scrimshaw, P. (Eds.): Computers and Talk in the Primary Classroom. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. (section 1, chapter 2)

The extracts are aimed either to tempt you to read this article so we can have a shared focus for our discussion or to prompt you to suggest an alternative article we could use as a shared focus

Here are the extracts:


We therefore believe that a neo-Vygotskian framework offers a suitable basis for an educationally relevant theory of learning and instruction. However, its principal concepts (the Zone of Proximal Development and `scaffolding'; discussed below) have not yet been properly defined for classroom research. Although the concepts are now in common use in discussions of educational processes, they were developed in observational research on parent-child interactions (Bruner, 1978; see also Wertsch, 1985a, b; Wood, et al., 1976), and only subsequently applied to educational settings by drawing analogies between learners at home and in school and between the supportive activities of parents and teachers (e.g. Bruner, 1985, 1986). Some educational

researchers have therefore suggested that the concepts themselves cannot map on well to the pedagogic realities of classroom education. David McNamara (personal communication) comments that

"The theory implies that each child's `scaffold' or ZPD is different and that the teacher must treat each child's learning individually—this is probably an unrealistic aspiration as far as most teachers and most classes are concerned."

p.19 (this is represented) What counts as ‘scaffolding’? They offer Maybin et al's criteria for 'scaffolding' (to distinguish it from ‘help’), namely:

1. the learners would not have been able to manage the task on their own

2. the teacher offers help which is intended to bring the learners to a state of

competence which will enable them to complete such a task on their own

3. the teacher wishes to enable the learners to develop a particular skill - or achieve a

particular level of understanding

4. there is evidence of a learner successfully accomplishing the task with the teacher'

5. some evidence of a learner successfully accomplishing the task with the teacher’s


6. the most stringent criterion of subsequent independent competence


That is, the ZPD is not an attribute of a child (in the sense that, say, IQ is considered to be) but rather an attribute of an event. It is the product of a particular, situated, pedagogical relationship.


It is not evident to us that the neo-Vygotskian concepts we have outlined are adequate to understanding the educational role of talk between children working together in classrooms. New concepts are needed if we are to understand peer learning.

Friday, March 23, 2007 8:18am Franc, I am more than happy to use this source – it looks interesting, but I need to read the whole thing before I comment as I want to know what precedes the citation (p.15) that begins with

‘We therefore believe that a neo-Vygotskian framework offers a suitable basis for an educationally relevant theory of learning and instruction.’

I have a copy of the book which I will take to Holland with me this week-end to allow me to re-engage in this debate when I return on Wednesday.

Before I go, please see below the full references for articles that I have cited thus far. Fiona

Vygotsky, L.S. (1978). Mind and society: The development of higher mental processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Piaget, J. (1963, 2001). The psychology of intelligence. New York: Routledge

Engestrom, Y. (1999). Activity theory and individual and social transformation. Engestrom, Y., Miettinen, R. & Punamaki, R.-L. (Eds.), Perspectives on Activity Theory (pp. 19-38). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Hausfather, S. J. (1996). Vygotsky and Schooling: Creating a Social Context for Learning, Action in Teacher Education. 18 (1-10).

Friday, March 23, 2007 10:31am Like Franc - of whose presence I am grateful, as he has articulated rather more clearly than I (and provided references for) some of the theory which we have together been discussing in another context, and to which I alluded earlier in the discussion (activity theory etc) - I am beginning to feel a little lost in the strands of the thread, which is becoming more complexly woven.

I am also conscious of references I should like to make to an interview I gave earlier to another two colleagues (of which I hope to have a transcript soon), in which similar issues were raised as have subsequently become a focus for our exploration here

Thus, with regard to the Oxford tutorial, I don't think that your 'takes' on this (Fiona and Franc) are inconsistent. The question, I believe, is not one of the relative academic 'strength' of the participants, but rather of goal congruence and motivation.

The one-to-one argument and robust interrogation (I agree that, as Dawkins suggests, the value of the encounter is not in the student listening to the tutor exposition) implicit in that setting, the shared principal purpose of which is to sharpen and refine the student's understanding, does not preclude learning on the part of the tutor. Indeed, it is arguably a desirable feature of academic discourse that it stimulate and feed into further investigation and research on the part of both interlocutors. Neither is this dynamic necessarily disrupted by the participation of more than one student. Surely, however, the dynamic shifts fundamentally, where the onus is on students to 'help other students', where there is no tacitly, and certainly no explicitly, shared purpose? What we may be discussing here are questions of motivation and individual task orientation, which

operate in conjunction with the student's ZPD

student's learning in the context of an online activity, we might be favouring it, particularly in the context of a postgraduate programme, which foregrounds the sharpening of criticality and the skills of research evaluation (of issues of validity and reliability) as an integral part of one's own understanding of appropriate methodological

approaches to practitioner inquiry

Far from compromising the stronger

a further paradox, I think

With regard, then, to Franc's question re. encouraging students to make the most of the overlap between their zopeds in a peer debate and encourage them to help others, and with reference, Fiona, to a brief conversation we had on Wednesday, 'the task is the

scaffold and the expert'. That is, it should be possible to formulate online activities in such a way that collaboration is required towards the achievement of a common goal - which could be in the form of a 'publication', the production of an 'artefact' of some sort (which may themselves become learning objects) - on the way to which some degree of debate and academic discourse, exchanges of understanding, further reading and a sharing of insights therefrom become necessary elements?

I sense that there has developed, around e-learning, whether integrated / blended or as

part of a fully online 'delivery', a pre-occupation with the 'debate' as an end in itself, which is a strategy resting on fundamental assumptions - some of which, of course, we are attempting to address here - about constructivist pedagogy, allied with those around the attributes and dispositions of the learner. Additionally, and as a consequence of unchallenged or uncritical acceptance of the pedagogical metaphor of participation, (Sfard, 1998) and in particular its importance to e-learning (Garrison and Anderson, 2001), there has been a blurring of the boundaries between pedagogy and assessment, as, increasingly, written contributions to online tutorial discussion become assessed genres.

My own impression of these is that, as often as not, discussion is superficial, 'threads' ill-constructed and positions prone to become entrenched rather than modified, as a consequence of ‘strategic’ engagement

I am grateful for the opportunity suggested to re-focus our own discussion around some

specific and shared reading. I'll follow that one up, Franc


Appendix A

Lewis (1997:211)

Perhaps a useful way of thinking about knowledge and its development in

a community is inspired by one aspect of Vygotsky’s work on cognitive

development. One may consider that the knowledge of an individual has

a central core which is ‘owned’ by the individual who is able to use that

knowledge in the autonomous performance of tasks. Surrounding that core is a region (the zone of proximal development – zoped) in which the individual has some knowledge, but needs help in performing tasks which

depend upon that knowledge. In a community, some parts of each person’s core knowledge overlap that of others and, most importantly, one person’s ‘zoped’ overlaps with the core knowledge of others.

This can be represented diagrammatically as in the figure below, where the core knowledge is shaded, and the zoped is unshaded.

In relation to this particular learning,

T can scaffold S (i.e. S can learn from T), as S’s zoped overlaps with the core

knowledge of T

S cannot scaffold T (i.e. T cannot learn from S), as T’s zoped does overlap with S’s core



Note the important qualification In relation to this particular learning. For some other learning the roles may be reversed…


Lewis, R. (1997) An Activity Theory framework to explore distributed communities. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 13, 210-218.


Engestrom, Y. (1999) Activity theory and individual and social transformation.

Engestrom, Y., Miettinen, R. & Punamaki, R.-L. (Eds.) Perspectives on Activity Theory Cambridge. UK: Cambridge University Press.

Felix, U. (2005) ‘E-learning pedagogy in the third millennium: the need for combining social and cognitive constructivist approaches’. ReCALL, 17 (1), pp.85-100. [3]

Garrison, R. and Anderson, T. (2001) E-Learning in the 21 st Century. London & New York: Routledge Falmer.

Hausfather, S. J. (1996). ‘Vygotsky and Schooling: Creating a Social Context for


Action in Teacher Education, 18, pp1-10.

Kirkpatrick, G. (2005) ‘Online ‘chat’ facilities as pedagogic tools’. Active Learning in Higher Education, 6 (2) pp.145-159. [1]

Lewis, R. (1997) ‘An Activity Theory framework to explore distributed communities’ Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 13, pp. 210-218.

Mercer, N. and Fisher, E. (1997) The Importance of Talk. In: Wegerif, R. and Scrimshaw, P. (Eds.): Computers and Talk in the Primary Classroom. Clevedon:

Multilingual Matters. (section 1, chapter 2).

Northedge, A. (2003) ‘Rethinking Teaching in the Context of Diversity’. Teaching in Higher Education, 8 (1), pp.17-31. [2]

Palfreyman, D. (2002) (Ed.) THE OXFORD TUTORIAL:‘Thanks, you taught me how to think’. Oxford:OXCHEPS

Piaget, J. (1963, 2001) The psychology of intelligence. New York: Routledge

Sfard, A. (1998) On Two Metaphors for Learning and the Dangers of Choosing Just One. Educational Researcher, 27(2), pp.4-13.

Vygotsky, L.S. (1978) Mind and society: The development of higher mental processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.