Cross-Analysis of the Activity Systems of Higher Education International Students in Online Learning

Cross-Analysis of the Activity Systems of Higher Education International Students in Online Learning

Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4590-5.ch009
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Abstract

This chapter presents the results of a cross-analysis of the seven portraits of the activity systems of higher education international students in online learning. The cross-analysis relies on Activity Theory as a tool to identify and sort patterns in the data, in this instance across seven portraits. The cross-analysis aggregates findings from across all seven portraits into the Activity Theory components of subject, object, tools, norms, community, division of labour, and outcomes. The chapter provides an aggregate portrait of the activity system of the seven students.
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Introduction

In the previous chapter, we featured the portraits of the activity systems of seven higher education international students in online learning. In this chapter, we present the results of a cross-analysis of the portraits. The purpose of the cross-analysis is to make sense of the phenomenon of higher education international students in online learning. To support the sense-making process, we rely on Activity Theory. Activity Theory acts as a tool to help identify and sort patterns in the data, in this instance, across seven portraits. In other words, Activity Theory helps narrow the focus to make it easier to identify what is important and related across the portraits.

The outcome of the cross-analysis is not intended for use as a generalized claim to make predictions about other contexts of international students in online learning in other higher education institutions. The outcome will represent an instance of a phenomenon, in one context. Those attempting to make sense in their context may consider the instance described in this book and compare it to their own to help further understand their context.

The cross-analysis presented in this chapter is not the final stage of the sense-making process. This chapter ends with an aggregate portrait of the activity system of the seven students. In Chapter 10, we analyze that aggregate portrait to identify contradictions and opportunities for expansive transformation of the activity system. That process will be relevant for others interested in conducting their own Activity Theory analyses of technology in higher education.

The following sections correspond to the seven components of: subject, object, tools, norms, community, division of labour, and outcomes. Each component aggregates the units of data from all seven student portraits. The chapter provides an aggregate portrait of the activity system of the international higher education students in online learning in our study.

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