Towards a theoretical framework for online professional discussions

Lenore Adie


Sociocultural theories of learning and sociocultural theories of technology are explored as a way to view and to map the complex interactions that can occur in online professional discussions. The case of synchronous online moderation meetings are used as an example of the combination of variables that can impact on the development of shared understandings of a practice. Online moderation can involve teachers from geographically diverse areas discussing and negotiating their judgement decisions. These discussions represent an intersection of a national curriculum, standards-referenced assessment, moderation protocols, site-specific practices and understandings, and individual teachers’ knowledges and histories. It is suggested that the proposed theoretical combination addresses some of the limitations of each of the theories when investigating such a dynamic context. As higher education moves into increasing use of online modes of communication and a higher level of accountability the relevance of this discussion to higher education is evident.


teaching; assessment; educational technologies

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