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ERIC Number: EJ869774
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 35
ISSN: ISSN-1741-8887
From Bush Pump to Blackboard: The "Fluid" Workings of a Virtual Environment
Enriquez, Judith Guevarra
E-Learning, v6 n4 p385-399 2009
"Impact" is possibly the most frequently evaluated construct associated with any kind of technological diffusion or adoption within educational settings. Seemingly endless research projects are funded to measure it and to validate the educational value we have become adept at inscribing into practically all novel technologies brought to our attention through official documents or government initiatives. This article revisits the virtual learning environment known as Blackboard. It addresses the notion of impact surrounding the e-learning initiative in the UK context, with particular reference to the case of one university. It seeks to move towards a "softer" conceptualisation of how we may study the workings of a virtual environment. To this end it draws on the work of de Laet and Mol concerning the mechanics of the bush pump to argue that there is no Blackboard (or other technology) in itself that is completely finished in its design or make-up. How a given technology works is not just a matter of concern for software developers located and employed at Blackboard, Inc. or similar organisations. Its effective use is not just about putting it to work on some requirement or content. Rather, as it becomes installed, distributed and accessed across time and space within specific localities, it enacts multiple ways of working: it works with. The workings of the virtual environment are not merely applied but, rather, they are coordinated in specific forms locally. Having this "softer" understanding would allow us to explore how technology works not only in terms of how, but also in terms of "where", and would show that for it to work "properly" it has to be located with. (Contains 5 figures and 3 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom; Zimbabwe