Incorporating the notion of recontextualisation in academic literacies research: the case of a South African vocational web design and development course

Coleman, Lynn (2012). Incorporating the notion of recontextualisation in academic literacies research: the case of a South African vocational web design and development course. Higher Education Research & Development, 31(3) pp. 325–338.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/07294360.2011.631519

Abstract

This article describes a small scale ethnographically oriented research study seeking to contribute to understanding student academic literacy practices in a South African vocational, web design and development course. In this course digital multimodal assessments are the main means whereby students demonstrate their learning. The findings of the study provide insights into the contextualised ways in which student academic literacy practices are shaped by academic and professional contexts where digital and multimodal practices are privileged. The academic literacies perspective used in this study, while useful for exploring the nature of student academic literacy practices, has not paid enough attention to theorising how literacy practices are shaped by broader contextual influences. To address this limitation the paper speculates about how the Bernsteinian concept of knowledge recontextualisation might be used alongside an academic literacies frame. The inclusion of an empirical focus on recontextualisation can provide an opportunity to explore how knowledge construction and transformation processes in the academic and professional domains result in the privileging of particular academic literacy practices.

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