My colleague Jutta Pauschenwein and Jenny Mackness will be presenting a paper at the Networked Learning Conference in Lancaster later this year – Jutta, who is also responsible for the ZML Leseclub I am proud to take part in, asked to put their paper on the agenda for our next meeting. It covers an interesting topic, namely the tension between structure and agency in learning environments – and this especially from the instructors perspective.
In reading through this paper I get the feeling for the need to discuss several topics:
- agency of the learner depends on internal, personal habits as well as on the designed and presented structure of a course
- agency on the learner side can only be managed to a certain degree from the instructors side
- agency of the learner is an indirect result of the design of the course and the relationship between participants (and instructor)
- As an instructor I have to take care of an environment that suits a maximum of learners
- and I have to be aware that role identities change, but according to a given expectation management roles do not vanish and shouldn’t be expected to do so
Although this paper refers to our COPE15 experience and so covers a MOOC learning environment, I believe that as an instructor I have to navigate through the dichotomy between structure and agency (of the learner) in designing every single learning experience – in my case, in the field of journalism, public relations and public communication – every single course. In a lecture as well as in a seminar. Accepting and recognizing that (e)-learning takes place everywhere and always.