Let Freedom Reign: A Case Study Exploring the Extent to which H.E. Students Choose ‘New’ Forms of Pedagogy and Technology in a Student-led Project


  • Peter John Shukie University Centre Blackburn College Lancaster University




Yin/Yang, technology-enhanced learning, project-based learning, student-led


This case study explores what happens when a cohort of second year undergraduates on a BA in Education Studies are given open access to create a learning object using any technology, and any pedagogical approach they choose. The focus of the project is on establishing the extent to which technology leads to transformative approaches to pedagogy. A Taoist perspective demonstrates the tension of a ‘yin’ approach to collaborative learning with yang reflecting teacher-led instruction. Back Channel learning highlights behind the scenes use of technology that suggests study practices have altered despite, not because of, institutional influence.

Author Biography

Peter John Shukie, University Centre Blackburn College Lancaster University

Peter Shukie is a Lecturer in Education Studies at University Centre Blackburn College and a PhD student at Lancaster University. His interest in technology and pedagogy are central to his professional role and his thesis. He is founder of Community Open Online Courses (COOCS), an online learning space based on a Popular Education ethos. He was named in the Top 50 social media influencers in FE by JISC and his Education Studies degree modules were included in the JISC Exemplar Case Studies for Higher Education in 2015.


Atkinson, C., (2009). The Backchannel: How Audiences are Using Twitter and Social Media and Changing Presentations Forever. Berkeley: New Riders.

Barr R., & Tagg, J. (1995). From Teaching to Learning: A New Paradigm for Undergraduate Education. Change, 26(6), 12-25.

Beetham, H., & Sharpe, R. (2007). Rethinking Pedagogy for a Digital Age. New York: Routledge.

Bennett, S., Maton, K., & Kervin, L. (2008). The Digital Natives debate: a critical review of the evidence. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39(5), 775-786.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8535.2007.0793.x

Biggs, J., (1996). Enhancing teaching through constructive alignment. Higher Education, 32, 1-18.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/bf00138871

Facer, K. (2011). Learning Futures: Education, Technology and Social Change. London: Routledge.

Garrison, D. R., & Anderson, T. (2003). E-Learning in the 21st Century. New York: Routledge Falmer.

doi: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203166093

Goicoechea, D. (2003). Heidegger – The Taoists – Kierkegaard. Journal of Chinese Philosophy 30(1), 81-97.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/1540-6253.00107

HESA, (2016). Data on Students by Subject Area and Sex 2014/15. Retrieved from: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/students/courses. Last Accessed 23 September 2016.

Jones, C., & Shao, B., (2011). The net generation and digital natives: implications for higher education. Higher Education Academy: York.

Kanuka, H. (2008). Understanding e-learning technologies-in-practice through philosophies-in-practice. In T. Anderson & F. Elloumi (Eds.) Theory and Practice of Online Learning, (pp. 91–118). Edmonton: Athabasca University Press.

Laurillard, D. (2008). The pedagogical challenges to collaborative technologies. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, 4(1), 5-20.

doi: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11412-008-9056-2

Laurillard, D. (2012). Teaching as a Design Science: Building Pedagogical Patterns for Learning and Technology. London: Routledge.

Mayes, T., & DeFreitas, S. (2007). Learning and e-Learning: The Role of Theory. In H. Beetham, & R. Sharpe (Eds.), Rethinking Pedagogy for a Digital Age, (pp. 13-25). London: Sage.

Mayes, T., Morrison, D., Mellar, H., Bullen, P., & Oliver, M., (2009). Transforming Higher Education Through Technology Enhanced Learning. York: HEA.

Nagel, G. (1994). The Tao of Teaching. New York: Penguin.

Parchoma, G. (2011). Toward diversity in researching teaching and technology philosophies-in-practice in e-learning communities. In B. Daniel (Ed.) Handbook of research on methods and techniques for studying virtual communities: Paradigms and phenomena, Vol. 1 (pp. 61-86). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

doi: https://doi.org/10.4018/978-1-60960-040-2.ch004

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. On the Horizon, 9(5), 1-6.

Prensky, M. (2009). H. Sapiens Digital: From Digital Immigrants and Digital Natives to Digital Wisdom. Innovate: Journal of Online Education, 5(3).

Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, 2(1), 3-10.

Yngve, V., (1970). On getting a word in edgewise. Papers from the Sixth Regional Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society, (pp. 567-577).






Original Research