Caring in the Zone: Fostering Relationships in Virtual Learning Communities
Amelia W. Cheney (Appalachian State University, USA) and Peter Nelsen (Appalachian State University, USA)
Copyright © 2012.
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A focus on interpersonal relationships and the creation of caring, democratic learning experiences may cause some to reject virtual learning environments because of a belief that physical proximity is necessary for the building of substantial relationships. Despite this concern, a carefully crafted 3D immersive learning environment can provide similar interpersonal experiences, and can foster the creation of caring relationships in ways that are often difficult in face-to-face settings. Based on more than nine years of work in Appalachian State University’s Appalachian Educational Technology (AET) Zone, this chapter creates a case based on Noddings’ framework for the ethic of care, and argues that virtual learning environments can meet and exceed these conditions.