Bennett, Elizabeth (2012) Web 2.0 and its impact on lecturer identity: juggling tensions. In: British Educational Research Association, 4-6 September 2012, Manchester, UK. (Unpublished)

This paper is based on a small scale study set in the north of England in a post ‘92 university. It explores lecturers’ practice in relation to their use of web 2.0 tools in their teaching. (Web 2.0 tools are web tools that allow participation and collaboration.) The study uses phenomenological principles to examine lecturers’ lived experience and to draw meaning from that experience (Taylor, 2008). The focus of the paper is on how lecturers’ sense of their professional self is changed resulting from use of web 2.0 tools in their teaching practice. It draws on an understanding of professional identities as being split and fluid Clegg (2008 p.332) and uses Stronach et al.’s notions of shards of identities and ecologies of practice and economies of performance to illuminate the way that lecturers identify themselves and how they see themselves in relation to others around them (2002).
The paper focuses on the tensions that lecturers experience using web 2.0 technologies because they give greater exposure and require lecturers to maintaining professional boundaries in a new way. Stronach et al. suggest that people resolve or accommodate tensions, yet the data from this study indicates that lecturers, both those who are experienced at using technology and those with less experience, juggle these tensions and some live with a sense of liminality, or uncertainty (Clegg 2006). This uncertainty relates to the pressures that lecturers are under, both inside-out pressures to serve their students better, and to the outside-in pressures to survive in a culture of performativity (Stronach et al. 2002). The strategies that lecturers use to juggle these tensions is discussed.
The paper explores the idea that the abundance of web sources challenges lecturers ontologically (Dohn 2009 p.117, Land and Bayne 2008 p.676). The findings support the idea that lecturers gain pleasure from designing activities which relinquishing mastery rather than exercising it (Clegg 2006 p.96) but challenges the notion that students might know more that the tutor or the “nightmare” of a stream of unanswerable questions” (Clegg, 2006 p.96). The practical strategies that lecturers’ use as they welcome new web 2.0 tools into their practices are discussed.

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