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Description of novelty, novelty of description: a dialectic analysis of a Web-based course


Computers & Education Volume 41, Number 3, ISSN 0360-1315 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


This article proposes a theoretical framework for the identification and classification of the various processes that constitute Web-based education. The framework is based on the following premises: (1) Education may be regarded as a corrective process, since it is aimed at bringing about a desired change in students’ knowledge and skills. (2) Failures in corrective processes (technical problems that prevent the dissemination of information, for instance) necessitate higher-order corrections (such as technical interventions). (3) Higher-order corrections might also be subject to failure. The recursive application of Premises (2) and (3) yields an open-ended, dialectic hierarchy of corrections and failures. The utility of this framework is demonstrated with a qualitative analysis of focus groups attended by students enrolled in an online Psychology course at the University of Pretoria. The analysis suggests that the problems associated with Web-based education might actually contribute to its effectiveness by instigating intrinsically valuable higher-order corrections, such as the cultivation of students’ problem-solving skills.


Perold, J.J. & Maree, D.J.F. (2003). Description of novelty, novelty of description: a dialectic analysis of a Web-based course. Computers & Education, 41(3), 225-248. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved October 2, 2022 from .

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