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Students and instructors share a learning experience, but they also occupy local environments that influence their learning and indirectly influence the experience of everyone in the online class.
Contents Introduction Blending the virtual and the real Current data and analysis Discussion: Online classroom as hybrid place Conclusion: Hybrid space affords a better place ________________________________________ Introduction As my Internet connection went down in my online class tonight, it occurred to me that I didn’t mention such an occurrence as a problem with the technology of distance education, but it is one that has happened to me a number of times.
As well, distance learners are also nomadic, using laptops in many locations to attend online class.
Work spaces and technology practices In contrast with the small amount of literature addressing how physical settings become part of shared online space, empirical and theoretical work in the general area of interactions between technology and physical places has generated an extensive literature.
When focus is directed to the effect of workspace on technology it is often from the perspective of system design or adoption.
For example, some researchers and designers complete workplace ethnographies (another field whose overall literature is enormous and beyond the scope of this paper) and intend to use the findings to improve system design (Bentley, et al., 1992; Hughes, et al.,1994; Luff, et al., 2000).
Often, CSCW design approaches to virtual–physical interaction involve supporting awareness or translucence by making the physical environs of each participant explicitly and literally visible to all participants.
Some systems accomplish this by showing not only the people but also their environs through actual, e.g., photographic, or symbolic, e.g., iconic or verbal, representations.
The focus of this paper is how the physical environments of each individual become part of each individual’s experience of the shared online environment and part of all participants’ experiences of the shared online environment for learning. 26 Information Processing as Core Activity in Schools .
(Dana, CI–FSU student) Professors and students make individual and collaborative contributions to create the environment in an online classroom.
These contributions include the clothes they wear, food they bring, media they use, interaction they engage in, lectures they deliver and listen to, and homework they assign, complete, submit, grade and return.
Her conclusion, developed by examining changing physical environments, is relevant to the argument being made in this paper about the influence of the physical on the virtual: "mobile interfaces make us aware of the importance of physicality when dealing with digital spaces" .
As shown below, fixed–location interfaces also allow physical aspects to become part of digital spaces.