This book is located at the interface of online learning within a context of English language studies and academic literacy and is underpinned, from a critical theoretical perspective, by an understanding of the implications of the digital divide for developing countries worldwide. The work is an exploration of online learning in an undergraduate English language and academic literacy classroom at a university in South Africa, and theorises the need for technology in developing countries as a means of social inclusion. The aim is to explore the extent to which communities of practice are enabled in an online environment, among English non-mother tongue speakers from technologically under-resourced backgrounds. This study examines the extent to which the students participate, negotiate meaning, and construct identities in online spaces.
From a sociocultural perspective this book locates learning as a form of interaction and co-participation, and argues that learning occurs within specific contexts, hence the focus on how individuals become members of ‘communities of practice’.
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2008. 267 pp.
Contents: The aim and context – The terrain of online learning: a local and global perspective – Theorising learning, communities
of practice, literacies, and identity – The research design and methodology – Electronic literacy as a social practice: issues
of ICT access, proficiency, and practice – Making meaning: Negotiation, participation and identities in online communities
of practice – Online communities of practice: From disadvantage to empowerment.