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Title: Guest speaker impact on learning community
Author: Costello, Jane Martha
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2013
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The use and impact of guest speakers in higher education learning communities is a phenomenon little studied to date. This multiple case study examined this phenomenon in two undergraduate humanities courses, each of which focused on issues and trends in their respective disciplines. Guests formed an integral, authentic resource and component in each case. This project had two aims: to investigate participants' (guests' , instructors ', and students') perceptions of what guests bring to learning communities in their interactions with students; additionally, it sought to discover the qualitatively different ways students experienced guest speakers impacting their learning communities as seen through the concepts (lenses) of students' group activity, engagement, enhanced learning experience, social presence, cohesiveness, and reflection. This research project employed an exploratory case study perspective in addressing the first aim, while a phenomenographic approach to analysis of students ' experiences was used in addressing the second. These lenses are discussed in the literature, along with learning community, networked learning, and guest speakers. Five types of learning communities (traditional, online, networked, virtual, and community of practice) are compared and contrasted across nine constructs to detern1ine their similarities and differences. An alternate definition of networked learning is proffered in an attempt to clarify the necessity and role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in networked learning. Guests, instructors, and students each shared their experiences in semi-structured interviews. Documents and archival records were also used to inform the case studies. Results contribute to the body of knowledge about guest speakers from participants' perspectives. Guests', instructors ', and students ' experiences either echoed previous reports or contributed new knowledge, sometimes in the sense of cautionary advice. Student extracts relating to the six lenses under consideration were analyzed phenomenographically and an outcome space evolved. It shows that social presence is the construct which underpins the other lenses. Students ' understanding of the concept of learning community is explored and the type of learning community is identified.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available