Authors: José W.I.M. Van den Akker
Addresses: University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, CRAWLEY WA 6009, Australia
Abstract: Online discussion boards are used in various universities as an alternative to face to face discussion groups. But they are also subjected to and shaped by a materialist and managerialist agenda and notions of performativity (Ball, 2003) that tend to have a negative impact on relationships in learning environments. They are part of learning management systems (LMS) that focus on work performance management, educational optimisation and more advanced centralised control, underpinned by the old idea of human beings as static and easy to categorise identities. The impetus and effect is entropic, motivated by investment in people to yield high returns in various ways. This article problematises those neo-liberal agendas to then talk about options online discussion board moderators can consider. First describing the incident that motivated writing this article, the discussion deliberates the idea of teaching and learning in a computerised world and looks at the idea of online sharing of information versus communication. The discussion then looks into what is useful for a postmodern world and brings forward the idea of integral theory and Beck and Cowan's (2006) perspective on meme systems that may assist online discussion board moderators in creating an intimate, multilayered and emergent community or Gemeinschaft.
Keywords: online discussion boards; discussion board moderators; communication; information performativity; Gemeinschaft; memetic systems; learning communities; online communities; web based communities; virtual communities; higher education; teaching and learning; online information sharing; e-learning; electronic learning; online learning.
International Journal of Continuing Engineering Education and Life-Long Learning, 2015 Vol.25 No.1, pp.116 - 133
Received: 08 May 2021
Accepted: 12 May 2021
Published online: 24 Dec 2014 *