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  • 2018murphyphd

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Exploring the challenges of managing blended learning courses in selected Irish higher education institutes: An activity theory study.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

  • Tony Murphy
Publication date2018
Number of pages250
Awarding Institution
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This research explores the challenges of managing the development and delivery of blended learning courses in three higher education institutes (HEIs) in Ireland. Taking a case study approach and utilising Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT), more specifically Engeström’s (2015) activity systems model (ASM), the research seeks to highlight the challenges by identifying contradictions in the activity systems for developing and delivering blended learning in each of the three HEIs. Three cases are examined by compiling separate ASMs for each case that reveal three quite different management approaches. A typology of managing course development is devised and presented as a means for comparing different approaches to managing the development and delivery of blended learning courses. The contradictions in each of the ASMs are used to identify the challenges associated with each separate approach. The activity systems identified, and their corresponding contradictions, are used to illuminate the larger debate around the use of new managerialist techniques in higher education and what that can mean for collegiality and the emergence of what has been described as neo collegiality in higher education.