Talking online: reflecting on online communication tools

Susan Greener

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to reflect on the value and constraints of varied online communication tools from web 2.0 to e-mail in a higher education (HE) teaching and learning context, where these tools are used to support or be the main focus of learning. Design/methodology/approach – A structured reflection is produced with the aid of Bolman and Deal's framing approach enabling four perspectives of this teaching and learning experience to be considered. Findings – Structural, interpersonal, political and symbolic issues are identified which currently favour the use of learning content management systems for course communication tools. Some of the blocks and barriers to the use of web 2.0 freedoms to publish, collaborate and communicate are identified and offered for debate. Research limitations/implications – This is a short paper designed to share reflective insights from HE teaching and learning experience in order to stimulate further research and debate on online communication tools for learning but to maintain a perspective grounded in current practice. Practical implications – This structured reflective process provides a practical vehicle for developing reflection on educational and organisational practice. Further, the paper suggests factors affecting choices between communication tools in learning design. Originality/value – This paper offers a practitioner perspective which tries to bridge the divide between web 2.0 excitement and HE teaching reality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-190
Number of pages13
JournalCampus-Wide Information Systems
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Communication, Electronic mail, Higher education, Learning, Worldwide web


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