Using Activity Theory to Guide E-Learning Initiatives

Using Activity Theory to Guide E-Learning Initiatives

Neal Shambaugh (West Virginia University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-942-7.ch018
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Abstract

This case documents how activity theory can be used as a tool to help educators understand the issues behind deploying online learning programs. Faculty members in higher education are accustomed to teaching online, but are new to the development of online academic programs. This case chapter provides a background to the academic setting and a discussion of activity theory. The specific context of an academic department is described, followed by how activity theory was used to represent the overlapping goals of faculty, students, and administrators, and to understand the contextual issues of roles, community of practice, and division of labor to reach the desired goal, which was to implement their academic programs online. Guidelines for using activity theory are provided.

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