International Research Conference, Lancaster UK, 10-12th April 2006
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Interaction in Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) an Ethical Perspective

Anne Rasmussen
University of Southern Denmark


This paper attempts to contribute to a deeper insight into the ways in which we are challenged in communicative and collaborative situations in virtual learning environments (VLEs). In particular the focus is on communication in asynchronous environments, more specific discussion boards. By introducing the concepts of surveillance, trust, risk and spontaneity, it is explained how the precondition for being able to establish learning processes fundamentally depends on the degree to which we are in a position to create space for trustful collaboration. It is argued that collaboration build on trustful relations is communication enacted through engaged commitment, where strategic deliberations has been put aside. It is exemplified how this might be obtained or suppressed in VLEs, partly through a discussion of virtual presence but also by questioning the traditional use and role of metaphors in design.


Surveillance trust, risk, spontaneity, engaged commitment, presence, knowledge creating metaphors

Full Paper - .pdf

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Keynote Speakers

Peter Goodyear, University of Sydney

Ronghuai Huang,

Beijing Normal University

Vera A. Solis, Universidad Centroamericana

Lawrence Hamburg, Higher Education Academy

Sten Ludvigsen, Intermedia, Oslo

Lancaster University


Higher Education Academy

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