REMEIED: Memorias del Encuentro Internacional de Educación a Distancia

Discourse in the development of identities in an online teacher education programme

Daisy Giles


This research aims to develop understanding into how learners use discourse devices to portray identities in virtual learning environments (VLEs) and how this can contribute to their learning.  Learning occurs through meaningful interactions with others, and social presence is seen as crucial for effective learning in VLEs (Garrison, Anderson & Archer, 2000).  VLEs provide unique affordances and challenges in relation to the presentation of self, largely due to the lack of physical embodiment (Gee, 2003; Dall’Alba & Barnacle, 2005).  Discourse has a central role in the projection of identities (Burgess & Ivanič, 2010; Gee, 2000), meaning it is essential that learners develop discourse skills in order to interact effectively in VLEs.  Focusing on an online teacher-education programme, this study adopts several discourse analysis approaches to explore discursive devices used by learners. The analysis of forum discussions and narrative interviews identified three main categories of identities:  student, teacher and other. While the development of teacher identities is the ultimate goal of the programme, student identities showed to be central to learning, with the discourse they were built on creating a sense of community.  Task instructions were found to be crucial in determining the identities portrayed, providing useful insights for educators working within VLEs.

Palabras clave

identity; discourse; online; learning

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