Pseudo social media classrooms

Sharing control with “the audience” as an academic literacy practitioner on an online platform

Keywords: academic literacy, social media, game shows, control empowerment, community, student engagement


In the academic literacy (AL) class, fostering engagement between educators and students in the online environment is challenging. However, sharing control in the online classroom provides a solution which assists in overcoming this, as well as engaging students academically. Interestingly, because students are familiar with game shows and social media, where they are used to sharing opinions, simulation of this in the online class may provide a solution to participation on an academic platform.  In popular game shows, there is a powershift when the audience gains more control through participation, which ultimately improves ratings (Enli & Ihlebæk, 2011). The same tactic can be applied to online learning with tools (such as Polls, Like buttons, Mic and Chat functions) especially in Academic Literacy where student expression is so important. Not only is there a shift in the power dynamic in a classroom, but students experience a sense of community which increases engagement, as well as vital academic literacy skills. Thus, this paper seeks to demonstrate how a control-sensitive classroom can enhance student engagement and success in an online academic literacy classroom by analysis of student perspectives through qualitative and quantitative data.



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Author Biographies

Louri Louw, University of the Free State, South Africa

Louri Louw has been an academic literacy facilitator at the University of the Free State for 10 years. She is also in the privileged position to teach creative writing at The Central University of Technology. Driven by a passion to enhance student learning, her current research interests lie in increasing student engagement in the online environment.

Linda Sparks, University of the Free State, South Africa

Linda Sparks is a lecturer, researcher and academic literacy coordinator on access programmes at Academic Language and Literacy Development, at the University of the Free State. Research interests include blended learning, innovation in teaching and learning, curriculum design, social justice, decolonisation, gender studies, language acquisition, and language and literature studies.


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How to Cite
Louw, L., & Sparks, L. (2023). Pseudo social media classrooms: Sharing control with “the audience” as an academic literacy practitioner on an online platform. Journal for Language Teaching , 57(1), 1-23.