Virtuality and the shaping of educational communities.
Education, Communication and Information, 5(2),
This paper considers the relation between educational institutions, the learning communities that ‘inhabit' them and the virtual spaces into which many of these communities are currently expanding. It explores, through a review of the literature on virtual community and its implementation in a variety of educational contexts, the idea that the practices of virtual communication and the social practices that give rise to learning communities are involved in a reciprocally shaping relationship which is not always acknowledged in the discourses of online learning. It argues that educationists should study the social practices of virtual learning communities, as well as the interactions of their participants, in order to ensure that communities are properly inclusive. It proposes that situated and virtual activities and events should both be viewed as textually mediated literacies, so as to enable their mutual shaping to be described.
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