Web design discourse and access : a case study of student entry into a web design Discourse in the Multimedia Technology programme at CPUT

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

This thesis represents an instance of my engagement as a reflective practitioner to explore how access opportunities into a web design Discourse can be enhanced. The study is located in the Multimedia Skills subject which is part of the Certificate in Multimedia Technology at Cape Peninsula University of Technology. In describing student entry into a web design environment, insights into academic literacy practices within the multimedia and web design environment are provided. The theoretical concepts of Discourse, interest, intertextuality, literacy, acquisition and learning are used to ground the conceptual framework of the study, while an interpretative case study is utilized as research methodology. Using the notion of recontextualisation, how the professional Discourse of web design was appropriate into the curriculum of the Multimedia Skills subject and the Multimedia Technology programme is described. This analysis identifies a core identity distinction between web designers (who have a strong visual focus) and web developers (who foreground technical competencies) which is supported by the subject focus in the programme. The research considers two key data sources, personal websites and semi-structured interviews. These account for student performances in and meta-knowledge of the web design Discourse and reveal evidence of how Discourses were reflected in student design decision-making in their personal websites. The differential experiences of student access to the web design Discourse prompt the consideration of how learning and acquisition activities could be used in the classroom to facilitate more balanced performance and meta-knowledge expression.

Includes bibliographical references (leaves 109-117).