Literacy and the digital university

Goodfellow, Robin and Lea, Mary (2016). Literacy and the digital university. In: Haythornthwaite, Caroline; Andrews, Richard; Fransman, Jude and Kazmer, Michelle eds. The SAGE Handbook of E-learning Research (2nd ed). London: Sage Publications, pp. 423–442.



In this discussion of the relation of literacy research to the digital university, a development from our earlier work on e-learning in the university, we provide a historical overview of work on literacy, learning, and the ‘social turn’ (Gee, 2000), discuss the conceptualisation of the digital university, and exemplify a sociomaterial perspective on literacy research in the digital university using the instance of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). We show how a sociomaterial literacies approach emphasises not only the social and cultural dimensions of digital texts and the practices through which they are created and consumed, but their very materiality – the 'stuff' virtual and actual out of which they are made, and the participants, human and non-human, who are necessary to bring them into existence. We argue that research in literacy and e-learning should not be confined to investigating issues of pedagogy and technology but must take on the much larger project of mapping all the connections amongst people and things that are necessary for a real 'digital university' to come into being.

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