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The motif of meeting in digital education


This article draws on theoretical work which considers the composition of meetings, in order to think about the form of the meeting in digital environments for higher education. To explore the motif of meeting, I undertake a ‘compositional interpretation’ (Rose, 2012) of the default interface offered by ‘Collaborate’, an ‘online collaboration platform’ (Blackboard, 2014), and an area of ‘Holyrood Park’, the University of Edinburgh’s education space in the virtual world, Second Life. Each example is analysed in terms of its visual composition, leading to a discussion of the emerging themes of content and control. I contend that, rather than focusing on the use of spatial metaphors to represent the physical experience of the classroom and classroom objects online, as an act of ‘reimagining education’ (Blackboard, 2014), educators and designers may find a more radical reimagining in beginning again with the idea of meeting, giving further consideration to the different forms of meeting which might be possible online.

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Correspondence to Philippa Sheail.

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Sheail, P. The motif of meeting in digital education. TECHTRENDS TECH TRENDS 59, 37–43 (2015).

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  • digital education
  • higher education
  • meeting design
  • online collaboration
  • online meetings
  • virtual classrooms
  • virtual worlds
  • visual composition