Distance Education as socio-material assemblage: Place, distribution and aggregation

Gunter, Ashley; Raghuram, Parvati; Breines, Markus and Prinsloo, Paul (2020). Distance Education as socio-material assemblage: Place, distribution and aggregation. Population, Space and Place, 26(3), article no. e2320.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/psp.2320


This paper outlines some of the material assemblages that are formed in international distance education (DE) in Africa. It offers a first exploratory study of materialities in DE and how they potentially distribute and aggregate to form a network to provide education. Through the use of interviews, students lived experiences are explored to unpack the multiplicity of networks needed to overcome the de‐aggregated and distributed institution. The multiplicity of networks that form in DE brings challenges that question how spaces become connected and disconnected and how different materialities shape DE. The materialities in DE produce forces and effects, such as translocal and transmobilites that are more than just the human actor, but extrude materials, networks, and connectives that transform continuously. The interconnectivities of the university and home or institution and students are brought together through enabling technology, but infrastructure does not always have the ability for the facilitation of aggregation.

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