VIRTUAL LEARNING AFFORDANCES AND IDENTITY: A CASE STUDY
Keywords:Virtual Learning Environments, Identity, Zoom, WebEx, Affordances
AbstractThis case study pairs a walkthrough analysis of two popular virtual learning environments (VLEs) (Zoom and WebEx) with undergraduate responses (n=250) to an open-ended survey to investigate how VLE affordances impact student identifications and quality of learning. Previous research has found that interaction and social presence are necessary for learning online, but professors find these relationships difficult to achieve when students will not, or cannot, turn on their cameras. Preliminary findings include three main themes. First, students find Zoom more user-friendly because it is designed to look like popular social media apps, yet they are still not comfortable being visible. Second, many students are concerned about their classmates and professors seeing their physical backgrounds, particularly those who reported having family incomes below $50,000. Subsequently, they rarely turn on their cameras. Third, BIPOC who identify as women fear being judged based on their physical appearance and also choose to rarely turn on their cameras. This study is one of the first to explore VLE affordances and their impact on identities. Early analyses point to already marginalized groups feeling the pains that came with the shift to online learning more acutely. Professors and universities should provide training for identity personalization and find ways to invite students to participate that do not include mandatory cameras.
How to Cite
Cirucci, A. M. (2021). VIRTUAL LEARNING AFFORDANCES AND IDENTITY: A CASE STUDY. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research, 2021. https://doi.org/10.5210/spir.v2021i0.11886