Angélica Monteiro

Title
O Currículo e a Prática Pedagógica com Recurso ao B-Learning no Ensino Superior

 

Course
Ph.D in Education Sciences
Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences, University of Porto, Portugal

 

Supervisor
Carlinda Leite

 

Awarded
May 17, 2011

 

Abstract

The object of this research work is the resort to b-learning as a 'pedagogical device' of knowledge construction in higher education. The main objective of this study is to contribute to a better understanding of the process through which different meanings are attributed to learning management systems (LMS) and to interpret those meanings within the educational paradigms framework.

The theoretical framework regarding the study of this resource within higher education makes us conclude that it can potencially alter the way we see and experience learning, by means of the communicational capabilities increase and of the different 'presences' which become possible in online environments. So, we have privileged the study of b-learning resorting situations, with the intention of identifying both the capabilities and the limitations of ICT use in the shaping of university-level learning communities and also of answering questions about how the resort to b-learning is being conducted and what kind of relation is there between b-learning use and the curricular development changes advocated by the Bologna process. To achieve all this, we sought out the data available at Universidade do Porto, as well as other data we could gather directly from its teachers and its students. This we did by means of semistructured interviews, questionnaires and documental analysis, processing it all finally through the contents-analysis technique.

The results we obtained show the existence of different non-sequential phases and different motives for adopting b-learning in teaching. Only when this adoption becomes a specialized form of communication, through which power and knowledge come together – making possible the sharing of resources, but, at the same time, creating a space providing understanding and support by means of the social, cognitive, teaching and peer presences – can we consider the resort to b-learning as a pedagogical device, making way to a stimulating environment for the cooperation, autonomy and social integration processes.

For this resource to contribute to the educational success, one needs to ensure the existence of all the necessary technical, social and pedagogical conditions. On the technical level, the access to the technology involved and the knowledge to deal with it must be provided. On the social level, the environment must favour the development of relational capabilities, either during the face-to-face periods or online. Finally, on the pedagogical level, the achievement of success implies constant pedagogy modification, taking into account the added possibilities of innovation and interaction brought by the actual integration of online environments in the curricular organization processes.