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Title: A Narrative Study of Technology-Oriented Academics’ Autonomy within the Context of Cloud Computing and Cloud-Based Services in Higher Education
Authors: Zahran, Raghda Marai Saleh
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This study aims to develop an in-depth understanding of the intersections between academics’ technology-orientation, autonomy, and pedagogical practices with cloud computing and cloudbased services within higher education. Two purposes framed this study. The first is to understand how technology-oriented academics conceptualise and utilise cloud computing platforms and services in their pedagogical practices. The second is to explore how these experiences intersect with academics’ autonomy within the context of higher education. This study’s motivation was the current confluence on academics’ autonomy due to higher education structural changes and cloudbased services emergence. Nine academics from a Gulf Cooperation Council higher education institution were recruited using ‘criterion-based purposeful selection’ (Schensul & LeCompte, 2012). The selection process considered their orientations towards using technology in their pedagogical practices. Using qualitative narrative methodology (Moen, 2006; Willis, 2008; McAlpine, 2016), data sources included a series of individual, paired depth and group interviews, participants’ reflections, researcher’s notes, and relevant material. Triangulation of methods, ongoing iterative dialogue with the participants, and thematic analysis (Clarke & Braun, 2018) contributed to this study’s rigour. The findings show that academics’ technology-orientations positively influence their critical perspectives and decision-making towards utilising cloud-based services in their professional development and pedagogical practices. Their orientations, backgrounds, capacities, roles, and objectives influenced their autonomy to variable degrees. The participants’ technology orientation aligned with their autonomous pedagogical practices with cloud-based services. CC and CBS’s design and features within the participants’ work conditions seem to afford and equally constrain their cloud-based pedagogic experiences. This paradox yielded three modes of academics’ autonomy, Constrained, Guided, and Self-Directed, intersecting four modes of cloud-based pedagogies, Expanding the Curriculum, Redefining Pedagogy, Cautious Pedagogy, and Visionary Pedagogy. These findings indicate bounded academics’ autonomy in the context of cloud-based pedagogy. This thesis extends the field of intersectional studies between technology and higher education. It contributes to understanding academics’ pedagogic experiences at a time of change in higher education. It also raises important questions concerning the implications of academics’ autonomy and institutional autonomy impacts upon the ethical cloud-based practices
Description: Ed. D. Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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