Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Jackie Blount


This dissertation explores political, social, economic, cultural, pedagogical, and technological challenges facing education and educators in the 21 st century. The tensions surrounding educational communication technologies and the debate over the capacity or incapacity of these technologies to facilitate human connection, rather than disconnection, reverberate through each chapter. The first chapter provides a general introduction to the three articles that follow and the fifth chapter provides a general conclusion for the dissertation. The second chapter interrogates definitions and conceptions of community, culture, and communications, and explores the possibilities of creating supportive communities for educators online through computer-mediated communication (CMC). The third chapter investigates learning theories and articulates connections between pedagogical practices and emerging conceptions of authentic, connected, learning communities. The fourth chapter follows the history of technological permutations of boundaries, reconfigurations of social spaces, alterations of senses of time and place, and redefinitions of what counts as knowledge and learning. Throughout this dissertation it is argued that educators must go beyond either-or thinking to facilitate connections and relationships, and to make meaning of teaching and learning in the 21st century. Corporeal as well as online Webs of Support and Engaged Accountability (WoSEA) are proposed as approaches that might help transform schools into the authentic social enterprises that educational theorist John Dewey called schools to become back at the turn of the 20th century.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

M. Kayt Sunwood



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

157 pages