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H810 – Choosing six issues for detailed study (A37.1)

December 30, 2010


This activity already or fortunately start the process of preparation for the ECA. We are asked to pick six accessibility issues to discuss, which relate to Seale’s (2006) chapters 11 to 13, thus the institutional, individual and community perspective. Finally we will need to focus on three of the chosen accessibility issues for our ECA (end-of-course assignment). So I should choose wise, as I need to write 2000 words about each topic.


Like a couple other colleagues, well not all, I definitely need some input, some idea, inspiration. But having learned about Wenger’s (1989) communities of practice we can probably join our effort and we could complement and inspire and interact with each other?!

I know I should just choose 6 issues to reduce it to three issues, but I want to start a full list first. Some points/questions are raised by Seale in the chapters 11, 12 and 13, some are made up by me. So let’s go.

Institutional perspective (Chapter 11)

  • What are the formal and informal rules of accessibility?
  • Is the development of accessibility practices within higher education (HE) institutions influenced by differences between the formal and informal rules of accessibility?
  • To what extend are the formal and informal rules regarding accessibility being forced by first, second and third parties?
  • How are the formal and informal rules of accessibility being regulated and enforced within a HE institution?
  • Are institutions seeing accessibility rules as an opportunity to invest in knowledge and skills required to make e-learning accessible?
  • What incentive is there for institutions to invest in the knowledge and skills required to make e-learning accessible?
  • North and Konur use the concept of game playing teams to e-learning and accessibility. Who are these teams, how equal is the power distribution between them, what role do they play and what (formal or informal) rules do the apply to safeguard accessible e-learning, applied to your own context (Sylvia)

Individual perspective (Chapter 12)

  • Can the central components of an activity system be mapped onto components within a accessible e-learning system?
  • Can novices in an accessible e-learning activity system eventually become experts?
  • Are accessible e-learning activities mediated by tools, rules and division of labour?
  • Does the activity of accessible e-learning have a history of development and is that history influencing future development?
  • Are there contradictions between central components of an accessible e-learning system and can the identification of these contradictions help to develop and progress future practice?
  • Seale identifies six potential areas of conflict or contradiction within an organisation or activity system. What potential contradictions exist in your organisation and why? (A35.1)
  • How helpful is it to conceptualize the development of accessibility within your organisation as an activity system? Do you think that Figure 12.1 (see blog post from 24.12.2010) would be a useful trigger for discussion within your organisation and would it enable you and your colleagues to identify what changes or developments are needed and why they are needed? (A35.1)
  • How applicable is the activity theory as a potential tool for analysis to e-learning and accessibility. What are the components of an accessible e-learning activity system, the relationships between the components and the key concepts, applied to your context (Sylvia).

Community perspective (Chapter 13)

  • Does the accessible e-learning community consists of one community of practice or a constellations of practice?
  • Is the accessible e-learning community engaged in a pursuit of enterprise through the production of artefacts (reification) and negotiation of the meaning of these artefacts (participation)?
  • Is reification prevailing over participation in the accessible e-learning community?
  • Is the accessible e-learning community mutually engaged in negotiating meaning, developing joint enterprises and sharing repertoires?
  • Is the accessible e-learning community creating connections with other communities through boundary objects, brokers and boundary practices?
  • What artefacts inside and outside your organisation have created (or could create) points of focus for you and your colleagues when it comes to developing accessible learning resources? (A36.1)
  • What are the advantages or potential disadvantages of communities of practice to e-learning and accessibility. How can links/connections between communities be created and what are what are the difficulties working across boundaries? (Sylvia)

Well, that is just a draft list, but it is a beginning, although I hope I will get some input from my OU colleagues ūüėõ

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From → H810

4 Comments
  1. Sylvia, this is a very comprehensive list of the issues, which I have found very helpful. Thank you!

    • Thanks Kate,
      but yours is pretty comprehensive as well. But if don’t start soon, I will not make it, because I need to finish a ECA for my other course. Both are due on the 20 January ūüė¶

  2. So thorough and so helpful. It does make me wonder that reading a fellow student’s blog is better than a forum, certainly an alternative when there is little happening in my own for this module. I am reading the same material but my head does very different things to it. Rather than climbing through it as if up a ladder I am far, far more inclined to follow issues and references wherever my interest takes me. The problem with doing this as I read is that I come away with a forest of trees -a copse at least – instead of the one tree thoroughly studied. Does that metaphor make any sense at all? Jay Cross’s metaphor about formal and informal one might be better – I’m on a bike here going off to explore. This means a comprehensive list such as yours is invaluable at this stage as I am having to pick my ‘three’. Chapter 11 – either the informal/formal dichotomy or the Konur games metaphor, both which got me exited at the time of reading. Looking back at MAODE stuff there was a discussion on the value of ‘bipolar’ arguments too. Chapter 12 – contradictions identified in an activity system in my context is a must – I can take it another step and apply the thinking and may also approach three special needs schools and institutions in the area (Dyslexia school, severe mobility and cognitive, and a school for blinded forces veterans). Chapter 13 – constellations vs. a community of practice – one that has formed with some clarity over the weeks largely because disability, as the Paralympics demonstrated – represents a broad and diverse bunch of people with particular needs. Thanks for that! Glad I Stumbleupon your blog … again.

    • You are very kind, thanks for your compliments. I liked H810 because it definitely raised my awareness about accessibility issues and I like designing the accessible e-learning resource and evaluate it, but the course was pretty ‘traditional’ with all the reading and less collaboration. It reminded me strongly on my BA course where the forums were seldom used and everybody studied on their own. But I had a good tutor, which made the course worthwhile. However, the EMA was quite tricky and I did not score as high as I wished. It seemed simple from the task, but they expected a lot and the grading was pretty tough. Good luck to you.

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