Affective Considerations in Distance e-Learning

N. Hedge and D. MacDonald (UK)


Distance education, social presence, emotions, technology


The potentially negative effects of distance in distance education have undoubtedly been reduced since e-learning and its associated technologies have enabled greater, easier connectivity between participants and learning resources. However, technological tools for interactivity are no guarantee of interaction or the development of communities of inquiry. This paper focuses on affective elements of technology-enabled distance education with reference to interaction and the construction and location of positive social presence as it shapes a sense of belonging, a sense of location, in the space of distance e learning. Exploring affective factors, especially emotions that underpin social presence we focus both on distance students and distance tutors. Drawing on research and practice in an academic service department supporting e learning and distance education in a traditional UK university, we will provide brief extracts from distance e learning participants to illustrate the affective complexities of distance e-learning and teaching.

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