Automation in distance learning: an empirical study of unlearning and academic identity change linked to automation of student messaging within distance learning

Collins, Hilary; Glover, Hayley; Myers, Fran and Watson, Mor (2016). Automation in distance learning: an empirical study of unlearning and academic identity change linked to automation of student messaging within distance learning. In: 10th International IADIS E-learning conference, 1-4 Jul 2016, Funchal, Madeira.

Abstract

This paper explores the unlearning and learning undertaken by adjuncts (Associate Lecturers) during the introduction of automated messaging by the university as part replacement of adjunct pastoral support for students. Automated messages were introduced by the University to standardize the student experience in terms of qualification communications, for example, reminders of forthcoming assessment deadlines. This change in communicative strategy is due to shifting power from a collegial to a managerial culture and practice in supporting distance learning students effectively. This is a university-wide initiative in a bid to improve progression and completion in an increasingly cost-focused higher education environment. The introduction of automated messaging requires adjuncts to learn new processes, and thus unlearn previous organizational routines which impacts upon their academic identity and perceived power within their roles.

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