University of Hertfordshire

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-100
JournalInternational Journal for Academic Development
Journal publication date2006
Publication statusPublished - 2006


Staff involved in pedagogic innovations are often presented with challenges that take them outside their customary spheres of expertise and disciplinary identities. This paper presents an analysis of data collected from staff involved in a ‘bottom up’ pedagogic innovation introducing inquiry‐based learning to a cohort of first year social science students. Data were collected in the form of transcripts of emails shared by staff weekly during the development, research interviews conducted after the module had finished, and a follow up email questionnaire a year later asking them to reflect on the value of the original email exchanges. The email exchanges were descriptive close‐to‐action summaries of events in the classroom and provided a way of creating teaching as community property. The follow‐up interviews revealed states of uncertainty and liminality (in‐betweeness). The paper argues that the characteristics of email, as both informal and intimate and at the same time a public mode of exchange, allowed sharing which supported tutor learning. The paper illustrates the importance of different sorts of talk in community creation and in supporting academic innovation

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