E-Learning and Digital Media
ISSN 2042-7530

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Volume 4 Number 2 2007


CONTENTS [click on author's name for abstract and full text]


Editorial, page 106
Henrik Hansson, Paul Mihailidis & Ken Larsson. The Rural Wings Project: bridging the digital divide with satellite-provided Internet. Phase I: Identifying and analysing the learning needs of 31 communities in 10 countries, pages 107‑115
David R. Cole. Virtual Terrorism and the Internet E-learning Options, pages 116‑127
Reijo Kupiainen, Juha Suoranta & Tere Vadén. Fire Next Time: or revisioning higher education in the context of digital social creativity, pages 128‑137
Wayne Journell. The Inequities of the Digital Divide: is e-learning a solution?, pages 138‑149
Colin Baskin & Ryan Taylor. Reciprocal Disconnectedness: computer games, schooling and boys at risk, pages 150‑160
Lisa Worrall & Frances Bell. Metacognition and Lifelong E-learning: a contextual and cyclical process, pages 161‑171
Jonathan D. Owens & David Floyd. E-learning as a Tool for Knowledge Transfer through Traditional and Independent Study at Two United Kingdom Higher Educational Institutes: a case study, pages 172‑180
Mitch Parsell & Jennifer Duke-Yonge. Virtual Communities of Enquiry: an argument for their necessity and advice for their creation, pages 181‑193
Deryn Graham. PESTE Factors in Developing a Framework for e-Learning, pages 194‑201

Children’s Literature and Computer Based Teaching (L. Unsworth, A. Thomas, A. Simpson & J. Asha), reviewed by Grace Woo, pages 202‑205 doi: 10.2304/elea.2007.4.2. 202

Michele Knobel, pages 206‑207 doi: 10.2304/elea.2007.4.2.206

Resistance: fall of man and Rainbow Six: Vegas, reviewed by Chia-Yuan Hung, pages 208‑221 doi: 10.2304/elea.2007.4.2.221


doi: 10.2304/elea.2007.4.2.106


This issue of E-Learning addresses an eclectic range of issues, maintaining the expansive focus the journal seeks toward its topic. Themes addressed in this issue range from discussion of Internet terrorism to a cross-country account of attempts to bridge the digital divide using satellite technology in rural communities, via studies of metacognition, potential e-learning frameworks, digital social creativity, gamer orientations toward school experiences, virtual communities of inquiry, and the like.

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We thank our past and continuing authors for their contributions, and hope you will continue to see the journal as an attractive venue for your work. We also encourage new authors to send us work for consideration.

E-Learning seeks to balance scholarly academic criteria and virtues with responsiveness to user needs and interests. For this reason we keep communications channels open and welcome suggestions for new features, occasional features, and ideas for enhancement generally. Above all, if you have an idea for a guest issue, or an extraordinary issue, or if you have a conference or symposium you think would be appropriate for E-Learning, please contact us. One of the great advantages of electronic publishing is that quality does not have to be sacrificed at the altar of economic cost. If the quality is there we will publish it, running to extraordinary issues as and when required.

Colin Lankshear & Michele Knobel, for the Editorial Team


The Rural Wings Project: bridging the digital divide with satellite-provided Internet. Phase I: Identifying and analysing the learning needs of 31 communities in 10 countries

doi: 10.2304/elea.2007.4.2.107


The digitally marginalised communities are in focus in the EU-funded Rural Wings project 2006‑2008. The aim is to identify and analyse the user learning needs in non-connected communities and to meet these needs by providing satellite Internet broadband connections, education and tools. This article reports the findings of the user needs investigation of 31 communities in 10 countries in the initial phase of the project designed and coordinated by Stockholm University, Sweden. Each national coordinator conducted a user needs study in their country using a common framework of questions and guidelines. The sites were selected according to national and regional needs and where satellite-provided Internet is believed to be the long-term solution. The 31 communities selected can be summarised as (a) mainland/lowland communities, 10 (b) mainland/highland communities, 12 (c) island/lowland communities, 5, and (d) island/highland communities, 4. The analysis reveals common threads of lack of infrastructure, accessibility and reliability concerning information and communication technology (ICT) implementation and containment in the community. There is a plethora of reasons for wanting more reliable and frequent Internet connections. Reasons range from educational opportunities, language opportunities, governmental inclusion, information/news outlets, and medical and weather initiative capabilities. This study provides in-depth macro-summaries of each participating country’s user needs analysis in total. It also includes the actual analysis of each test site based on over 31 sites spanning 10 European nations. In addition, generalisations, comparisons and differences have been composed, to provide a framework for European trends in rural ICT access.


Virtual Terrorism and the Internet E-learning Options

doi: 10.2304/elea.2007.4.2.116


E-learning on the Internet is constituted by the options that this global technology gives the user. This article explores these options in terms of the lifestyle choices and decisions that the learner will make about the virtual worlds, textual meanings and cultural groupings that they will find as they learn online. This is a non-linear process that complicates dualistic approaches to e-learning, such as those which propose real/virtual distinctions. It also sets up the notion of virtual terrorism, which is explained in terms of the political forces that have come about due to e-learning. This article uses the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze as a best fit in order to understand the ways in which the e-learning of the Internet options is apparent in contemporary society. Deleuze made a division between unconscious learning and apprenticeship learning, that makes sense in terms of the virtual and cultural worlds that inform the lifestyle choices on the Net. This is because the navigation of virtual worlds involves imaginative processes that are at the same time an education of the senses of the type that the apprentice will receive. Furthermore, in his work with Félix Guattari, he developed the notion of the plane of immanence, which is used to pinpoint the presence of virtual terrorism in e-learning practices.


Fire Next Time: or revisioning higher education in the context of digital social creativity

doi: 10.2304/elea.2007.4.2.128


This article presents an idea of ‘digital social creativity’ as part of social media and examines an approach emphasising openness and experimentation and collaborative learning in the world of information and communication technologies. Wikipedia and similar digital tools provide both challenges to and possibilities for building learning sites in higher education and other forms of education and socialisation that recognise various forms of information and knowledge creation. The dialogical nature of knowledge and the emphasis on social interaction create a tremendous opportunity for education, but at the same time form new hegemonic battlegrounds in terms of various uses of social media.


The Inequities of the Digital Divide: is e-learning a solution?

doi: 10.2304/elea.2007.4.2.138


This article addresses the continuing digital divide in public education, one that defines itself largely along geographic, socioeconomic, and cultural lines. The article refutes the idea that the digital divide is dwindling due to increasing access to technology within the United States, instead focusing on digital literacy and cultural barriers as perpetuating the divide, causing economic, democratic, and social ramifications for those affected. Finally, e-learning is proposed as a potential solution to narrow the divide based on the ability to receive effective instruction without geographic restraints.


Reciprocal Disconnectedness: computer games, schooling and boys at risk

doi: 10.2304/elea.2007.4.2.150


Ethnomethodology is the analytical frame used here to recover embedded cultural discursive phenomena in the language of ‘at risk’ middle-school boys as they talk about ‘computer games’ and ‘schooling’. What emerges is a rich picture of myths and heroes, identities of participation where member values and a discernible moral order are part of the ‘gaming’ culture. A second picture emerges of ‘boys in school’. Here ‘sleepers, avoiders and disconnected teachers’ are disclosed through conversational structures as identities of non-participation in the classroom. Through student talk we learn that identities of non-participation are a reciprocal phenomena, wherein these students and their teachers co-construct a reciprocal disconnectedness, each to the other. To the individual learner, the computer game is ‘serious fun’; to the classroom it is a ‘peripheral distraction’; to the school community it is a marker for identifying boys ‘at risk’ of disengaging. Each of these individual accounts stands only as a ‘partial’ explanation of the role of computer games in schooling. The article argues that our ability to nourish learners’ inner capacities is not dependent on the level or nature of technology, but on the creative learning applications it invokes.


Metacognition and Lifelong E-learning: a contextual and cyclical process

doi: 10.2304/elea.2007.4.2.161


Metacognition is arguably an important conceptualisation within the area of lifelong e-learning, with many theorists and practitioners claiming that it enhances the learning process. However, the lifelong, cyclical and flexible aspects of ‘before’, ‘during’ and ‘after’ metacognitions within lifelong e-learning (inclusive of whether an ‘input’ necessarily leads to a completed ‘output’) seem marginal within current areas of practical and theoretical debate. This article analyses Reeves’s (1997) model of web-based learning in the context of the ADAPT project; a study of lifelong learners based in small and medium sized enterprises. The article focuses upon an analysis of this model’s view of metacognition, and in the light of the project findings and literature review, aims to put forward an extended and expanded version of the model with reference to lifelong e-learning.


E-learning as a Tool for Knowledge Transfer through Traditional and Independent Study at Two United Kingdom Higher Educational Institutions: a case study

doi: 10.2304/elea.2007.4.2.172


Much has been made of the advances in computer-aided learning activities. Websites, virtual campus, the increased use of WebCT (an online proprietary virtual learning environment system) and chat rooms and further advances in the use of WebCT are becoming more commonplace in United Kingdom universities. However, the effectiveness of these learning methods from the student point of view needs to be questioned. This article looks for ways of changing higher education students’ perception of the usefulness of recommended Internet websites for learning purposes, with the intention of increasing the usage rate of recommended module websites. The change could represent an adaptation of the existing, well-known technology to change students’ perception regarding its potentially formative role. Subsequently, the outcomes from this preliminary research could be used in order to enhance the quality of Internet use for teaching and learning purposes. The article further draws on secondary sources, including the 2005 Oxford Internet survey that gives constructive perspectives into future policy direction. The article examines some of the learning technologies and introduces the discussion on the evaluation of web-based learning. The research problem that emerges from the discussion is defined and followed by the illustration of the investigative method deployed. The analysis of findings and recommendations conclude the article.


Virtual Communities of Enquiry: an argument for their necessity and advice for their creation

doi: 10.2304/elea.2007.4.2.181


In this article it is argued that communities of enquiry can and should be developed in courses delivered online. These communities make the most of the available technological resources and overcome some otherwise daunting challenges faced in online course delivery. Indeed, asynchronous tools like discussion boards offer a range of benefits for the creation of such communities that are unobtainable in the traditional classroom. Further, the authors also point to some simple measures that have been found to be successful in helping to create net-based communities. Finally, they draw on recent empirical evidence to demonstrate that online communication tools can, if appropriately employed, offer unique benefits for the creation of learning communities.


PESTE Factors in Developing a Framework for E-learning

doi: 10.2304/elea.2007.4.2.194


This article describes the development of a framework for e-learning and presents the findings of a study investigating whether the use of blended learning can fulfil or at least accommodate some of the human requirements presently neglected by current e-learning systems. The study evaluated the in-house system, Teachmat, and discussed how the use of blended learning has become increasingly prevalent as a result of its enhancement and expansion, its relationship to the human and pedagogical issues, and both the positive and negative implications of this reality. PESTE (Political, Economic, Social, Technical, and Environmental) factors from sociology are then applied to appraise the employment of e-learning, leading to the proposal of PESTE factors for educational software and e-learning in particular.


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