Sunday, November 16, 2014

#Entry 31 IDT1415 Lombard M. & Ditton T. 1997 At the Heart of It All: The Concept of Presence

Lombard and Ditton's concept of presence is fascinating as it does not apply only to CMC but basically anything that is mediated by technology and nowadays mostly everything is. I found this reading long but rewarding as it allowed me to make some connections with my previous reflections. I agree with Cecilia's observation that my 'experience is with no doubts enhanced by the fact that [I am] a confident user and an expert learner... This makes a real difference and...' her invitation to 'perhaps [I] could consider the impact of DL learning for people with a different background'. I would still argue though that as I said in my entry when discussing Bax's approaches and myself, I firmly believe that as mentioned in Kessler and Klapan's (2008:270) teacher attitude, whether positive or negative - I am clearly a positivist - plays a central role not only in 'our' confidence but also directly affects the integration process so opportunities to identify and foster a positive attitude need to be included for normalisation to be reached. I believe approahcing DL with a positive attitude will benefit not only those with less experience of the medium but also us as tutors in the long run as has been my own experience on the CertICT with candidates coming onto the course with pre conceptions formed through their negative prior experiences but realising that it is also possible to enjoy DL learning. Heeter (1992 in Lombard and Ditton 1997:16) suggests that 'people want connection with people' and this connection is nowadays possible and also richer and richer thanks to technological advancement. I believe that DL today allows for a stronger presence as an invisible medium as described by Lombard and Ditton (op.cit.) thanks to the fact that most VLEs can easily be ticked against their checklist in terms of 'number and consistency of sensory outputs, visual display characteristics, and interactivity' p14 while orchestrated, I would hope, by a 'practically wise' tutor who through can provide those less familiar with the medium enough experience to encourage a sense of presence (Heeter 1992:263 in Lombard & Ditton 2007:18). 

I found particularly relevant and easily identifiable in my own context some but not all the psychological effects of presence as invisible medium listed in the article, namely: enjoyment, involvement, task performance, skills training, persuasion, memory and social judgment. On the other hand, desensitisation and parasocial interaction and relationships pose a problem in identification for me. Would not these two effects relate more to other types of DL setting rather than the ones I am accustomed to e.g. mainly language learning and language teacher education? This may be explicable in Artbaugh et al.'s terms of hard and soft disciplines being language learning soft or applied (in Swain and Ice, 2010:2) as my own setting and experience requires high teaching presence and interaction with the contents is still regulated and closely linked to the central role of both tutor and learners. Or maybe I got it all wrong? I hope to be able to answer this question after completing this week's readings.


Lombard M. & Ditton T. 1997 At the Heart of It All: The Concept of Presence. Journal of Computer Mediated Communication , 3, 2. [Available as eresource on UNLOC] Online at [accessed: 13 November 2014].

Swain and Ice, K. and P., 2010. The Community of Inquiry Framework Ten Years Later: Introduction to the Special Issue. Internet and Higher Education, [Online]. 13, 1-4. Available at: [Accessed 14 November 2014].

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.