Learning/Business' and 'The Real World' chimera: exploring the discursive boundaries of collaborative practices



Publication Details

Sykes, C. S., Moerman, L. C., Gibbons, B. & Dean, B. Amelia. (2012). Learning/Business' and 'The Real World' Chimera: Exploring the Discursive Boundaries of Collaborative Practices. Higher Education Research and the Student Learning Experience (HERSLEB) Conference (p. 28). Melbourne, Australia: Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.


This paper critically re-examines collaborative learning practices in teamwork in an undergraduate business degree. Using a socio-material approach, we reflexively interrogate the spatio-temporal dimensions of collaborative learning, by focusing on metaphors-in-use in the core curriculum. The research draws upon: the lived experiences of the authors; the perceptions of interviewed academics; and, written reflections of undergraduates enrolled in a cross-disciplinary capstone subject. The findings demonstrate that such an approach reconstitutes the performance of collaborative learning in teamwork, disrupting the taken-for-granted discursive boundaries of 'real world' chimera embedded in business curricula. The dualities and invocations constructed by 'the real world' metaphor, reinforces a realist ontology in which the context is static, stable and bounded. In this paper we examine the notion of teamwork as a 'dead metaphor' or cliche as a means of exploring these conceptual and practice anomalies and ambiguities that are embedded in ubiquitous terms. A relational ontology reconstitutes the higher education milieu and collaborative learning in teams by collapsing the taken-for-granted spatio-temporal boundaries opening new spaces for critique of extant pedagogical practice and the scope for alternate approaches to capstone development.

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