Virtual Communities: The effect of technology on learning

Anna Wildy

Traditionally, concepts of communities have been grounded within a geographical framework. However, in a country as large as Australia, geographic connection between groups is not always physically possible. The developments in communication technology alleviate geographic and time issues. Universities in Australia have incorporated communication technology within their teaching practices to provide efficient teaching practices.
However, whether communication solely through the virtual realm can be an effective replacement for face-to-face contact is a matter of debate. Some theorists argue that face-to-face engagement is the key to bringing experiences to life, while others maintain that the intellectual engagement that characterizes communications in the virtual world is an effective and meaningful form of communication.
The experiences of external students and students who complement their studies with an online component are contrasted. The paper explores the factors associated with learning in a virtual realm and students' ability to engage not only with the intellectual content of their unit, but also with their university community.

  virtual community - communication technology - learning - university

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  Wildy, A. (2005). Virtual Communities: The effect of technology on learning. Revista Electrónica Iberoamericana sobre Calidad, Eficacia y Cambio en Educación, 3(1).
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