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A practical action perspective and understanding on becoming a networked learning educator

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Abstract

In the paper we examine one of the enduring issues in networked learning of the reticence of academics to work with and/or run networked learning courses mediated by technology. The paper is based on an analysis of the situated practice of members of an academic department and the work done in becoming a networked learning educator. It builds on the recent interest in practice based studies (PBS) that has led to an increase in looking at learning and knowing through the doing of practice. Following Schatzki, (2001) we see practice as an embodied and materially mediated activity around practical understanding. The research approach we have chosen to look at this is that associated with ethnomethodology; which has a long-standing interest in the understanding of practical action. In the paper we offer an account of the social fact of the competent university teacher as constructed in what Garfinkel (1967) refers to as ‘common understanding’ exhibited in the methods used and descriptions of practice-in-action of members of the department.
We go on to examine an account of designing an online module and the practice-in-action exhibited by Emma in becoming a networked learning educator. We conclude with the suggestion that the pattern and rhythm of said module could be used as a starting point for a pedagogical framework that can accommodate and/or exhibit the practical understanding of pedagogy for members of the department.