Week3b – A3 – Bayne

Deceit, desire and control: the identities of learners and teachers in cyberspace

 by Siân Bayne from her book Education in Cyberspace (Land and Bayne, 2005).

Quote1: “Findings which report increased contributions in online discussion of disadvantaged, ‘shy’ and female students (Alexander 1997; McConnell 1997; Belcher 1999; Kimbrough 1999), the success of the online environment in increasing collaboration among students (Hilz 2000), and the tendency for online student groups to become less focused on their tutors (Dubrovsky et al.  1991: Eldred and Hawisher 1995) all imply, however obliquely, that something shifts at the level of the subject when online learning takes place.”

Quote2: “…common perspective emerging from students’ accounts in which online modes of identity formation are viewed negatively, as a dangerous deceit or deviance from the ‘natural’. These perspectives will be compared with the narratives of tutors for whom, surprisingly, the  online space becomes a place in which traditional hierarchies can be re-asserted, and conventionally teacherly identities re-cast.”“The Internet is another element of the computer culture that has contributed to thinking about identity as multiplicity. On it, people are able to build a self by cycling through many selves … In its virtual reality, we self-fashion and selfcreate. “(Turkle 1996: 178–180)“…we do not start completely anew when we work online” (pg 31)

 Our of baggage of experiences will shape the way we interact (teach and learn) online. Thus there is the ‘danger’ of methamorphising our identity when shifting from the real to the online worlds.

Quote3:  “Dividing the individuals I spoke to into two groups – students and tutors – reveals two quite different perspectives on the possibilities of metamorphosis of the self in cyberspace.” pg31

reflect on their reactions and your own

1. Are your views similar?

Sue’s reaction is that creating an online identity can be dangerous due to the distancing from the real self.  I feel that this is a common perception when communicating online. When chatting, blogging etc. the person’s personality traits can be tweaked. Hiding behind a screen, can change a shy person into an extrovert chatter…methamorphosis

Quote4:  “Identity formation online becomes a performance here, with the risk of the role taking control of the player, of the actor becoming the acted upon.”

Quote5: “…of an online identity which seems almost wholly adrift from his other, bodily present self (it’s not like you’re actually saying it at all, so it’s not you’).”pg33 

Quote6: “Clearly it is not just online that we are troubled by the contradictions of multiple identities – this is a condition of our subjectivity.”

2: Do you feel uneasy around the uncertainties in relation to how you project your own identity online, or interpret that of others?

I almost always assume that  the online identity of any person might not be 100% true. It depends in which site/chatting program / social network, this identity is projected. I recall the days when we used to use MIRC. It was very easy to start chatting with anyone and use a fictitious identity. Chatters used to ask for the asl  (age, sex, locality) and then the response could be anything!

These days through the use of social networking like facebookand the FirstClass forums for H800, the online identity is real as the mode of communication is more formal and involves people from real life environments.

 3. By contrast, have you found it liberating to experiment with your own identity online?

The use of nicknames / usernames in chats or in social networks lets you give a certain persective of your identity. 

4. Have your own reactions to ‘the mutable subject online’ changed with experience in using online interaction?

It’s like creating another self which might have another personlity. Can talk more easily with others, less shy, socialise in a different way…

5. Do you now feel differently about your own identity relationships – when participating in online forums, for example?

6: Why do you think Bayne found differences between students and their teachers?

Teachers and students have different roles in the learning process.

7: Can you draw upon the activity theory model to help interpret these differences?

8: Would the different subject positions of teachers in the learning activity system help to explain their reactions and feelings of control, for example?

9: Does a teacher’s position in authority within the community mean that they feel more confidently able to exert a particular ‘teacherly’ persona using online contributions?

 In my experience when using online contributions, I have more time to think about the answer which I’ll be giving. More structure can be given to the contribution with maybe a bit of research to sustain it.

Quote7:  “the flattening of the teacher-student hierarchy which is taking place online causes Delia, in this account, to take up a more authorative, ‘teacherly’ subject position in an attempt, conscious or otherwise, to reinstate a hierarchy which the medium tends to undermine.”

teachers want to look good in what they do. They need to be in control. Students want to be themselves


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