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Diversity, identity and belonging in e-learning communities: Some theories and paradoxes

Hughes, G; (2007) Diversity, identity and belonging in e-learning communities: Some theories and paradoxes. Teaching in Higher Education , 12 (5-6) pp. 709-720. 10.1080/13562510701596315. Green open access

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Abstract

It is often assumed that online collaborative learning is inclusive of diversity. In this exploratory paper, I challenge this notion by developing a theory which proposes that inclusion occurs through congruence between learners' social identities and the identities implicitly supported through the interactions in a particular community. To build identity congruence, e-learning communities need spaces for both commonality and diversity, and I present three paradoxes which underlie the aims of online learners and teachers to embrace diversity online. I illustrate these with some examples from online learning and teaching. The ability to 'listen' to each other online offers a way forward, and the paper ends with some future possibilities about how we can ensure that e-learning communities benefit from diversity.

Type: Article
Title: Diversity, identity and belonging in e-learning communities: Some theories and paradoxes
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/13562510701596315
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Education, Practice and Society
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1490898
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