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Title: An exploration of a true collaborative learning environment, and its challenges, in an Irish higher education classroom
Author: Power O'Mahony, Corinne
ISNI:       0000 0004 6349 0983
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2017
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This research explores the challenges of one innovative ‘true collaborative learning’ environment in an Irish higher education classroom. It investigates the peer learning literature, focusing on four elements: ‘student’, ‘tutor’, ‘topic’ and ‘interaction’. Extrapolating from the literature, the study defines true collaborative learning in context and acknowledges the place of learning culture. The ethnographic insider approach to this research is acknowledged and explored. A single small-scale case study design frame was used to focus on gaining a deeper understanding of this setting. The researcher observed and recorded the sessions, maintained a reflective diary and in order to balance the findings, explored students’ perspective in a focus group at the end of the research period. The recordings were viewed holistically and analysed through the four elements, funnelling the data through verbal, non-verbal and multimodal themes. The findings revealed the importance of trust, communication, honesty and openness in the process, highlighting the role of a particular type of relationship between tutor and students, and student and student in the TCL classroom. The research concludes that the challenges associated with enacting true collaborative learning hinge on a subtle set of tutors’ skills, dispositions and educational goals, while balancing the cultural dynamics at play, components not easily aligned nor achieved.
Supervisor: Ecclestone, Kathryn Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available