Discursive constructions of medical students identities in informal course-based online discussions

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Education as Change

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Taylor & Francis


University of Cape Town

Studies into student identity have tended to focus on formal academic writing for assessment purposes. However, this is beginning to change with a shifting academic and semiotic landscape. More and more tertiary institutions are making use of the writing opportunities afforded by the online environment. Online forums are popular as they promote interaction and discussion among students. This change in the academic landscape has allowed for new approaches to studying the discursive constructions of student identity. Using critical discourse analysis, this paper explores how students construct their identities in informal course-based online discussions in Higher Education. It focuses on the various discourses medical students draw on and the language of online communication in identity construction. By providing a site for students to interact with each other, these online discussions provide for a more active curriculum where students are involved in the meaning-making process.

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Education as Change on 25 September 2009, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/16823200809487191.