Student Engagement in the Digital University : Sociomaterial Assemblages book cover
1st Edition

Student Engagement in the Digital University
Sociomaterial Assemblages

ISBN 9781138125391
Published February 7, 2018 by Routledge
172 Pages 22 B/W Illustrations

USD $52.95

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Book Description

Student Engagement in the Digital University challenges mainstream conceptions and assumptions about students’ engagement with digital resources in Higher Education. While engagement in online learning environments is often reduced to sets of transferable skills or typological categories, the authors propose that these experiences must be understood as embodied, socially situated, and taking place in complex networks of human and nonhuman actors. Using empirical data from a JISC-funded project on digital literacies, this book performs a sociomaterial analysis of student–technology interactions, complicating the optimistic and utopian narratives surrounding technology and education today and positing far-reaching implications for research, policy and practice.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Digital Hype, Myths and Fantasies

Chapter 3: Hidden Texts and the Digital Invisible

Chapter 4: The Trouble with Frameworks

Chapter 5: Researching Digital Engagement

Chapter 6: Entanglements with the Digital

Chapter 7: Nonhuman Actors, Materiality and Embodiment

Chapter 8: Beyond Context

Chapter 9: Fluid Assemblages and Resilience

Chapter 10: The Organisation as Assemblage

Chapter 11: The Assemblage as Lens

Chapter 12: Conclusions

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Lesley Gourlay is Head of the Department of Culture, Communication and Media and Reader in Education and Technology at the Institute of Education, University College London, UK. She is Co-Convener of the Society for Research into Higher Education’s UK-wide Digital University Network, and Executive Editor for the journal Teaching in Higher Education.

Martin Oliver is Professor of Education and Technology and the Head of the Centre for Doctoral Education at the Institute of Education, University College London, UK. He has edited the journals Research in Learning Technology and Learning, Media and Technology, and is Past President of the Association for Learning Technology.


"Digital literacies, the student experience, and student engagement are issues justifiably receiving a great deal of attention in fluid and fragile higher education at present. Relevant, pressing, and important issues—why read more about them? Because this book provides a perspective out of the ordinary, refusing to simplify complex issues or homogenise students who indeed are diverse and differentiated. Providing an understanding that is inherently political and contextualised, and using real examples of embedded student practices, Gourlay and Oliver deconstruct current buzz words (such as impact, quality, infrastructure, and the like) and reconstruct them in ways that use theory to illuminate and explain. They provide persuasive arguments to articulate the digitally mediated relationships between students, the resources they use, and the situations in which they find themselves learning and negotiating the world. Recommended for scholars and professionals alike."

—Laura Czerniewicz, Director of the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching, University of Cape Town, South Africa

"This book is a wake-up call for both researchers and practitioners in educational technology. Our field is much more complex and multi-dimensional than our dominant models of communication, community, institution, and theories of change and diffusion would have us believe. Gourlay and Oliver eloquently show how digital artefacts, agencies, and forms of engagement constitute an intensely interlinked, closely contested space, casting our everyday engagements in radically new light."

—Norm Friesen, Professor of Educational Technology, Boise State University, USA