Space, Time, and Transfer in VCEs

David Fisher, University of Arkansas at Little Rock

David Russell, Iowa State University

Joseph Williams, University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Dan Fisher, University of Central Arkansas


In this webtext we argue that the way in which an educational content/course management system (CMS) is configured and deployed can provide students with the sense that they are immersed in a time-space (or chronotope) that is different from the chronotope they experience in traditional classrooms.

This experience simulates social activity other than school-going, and therefore a set of motives for circulating texts unlike, though inextricably related to, the epistemic and sorting-and-ranking motives that Dias et al. (1999, p. 44) argue characterize academic writing and make transfer of genre knowledge difficult or impossible.

As this webtext addresses the idea of evoking extra-academic activity within the classroom, we attempt to illustrate the notion of a boundary zone (Konkola, 2001) by inviting readers to become part of a Virtual Case Environment (VCE) that evokes the day-to-day activity at a public relations and marketing organization, Lot49 Communications.

Link to webtext.

The authors would like to thank Anthony Ellertson and his students at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point for their significant contributions to the "Client Materials" area in the Lot49 VCE. We would also like to thank Iowa State University's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CELT), and the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE) for funding that enabled the startup of the MyCase project. In addition, we thank Bedford/St. Martin's Publishers for their assistance in preparing Lot49 for trials in first-year composition courses.

Finally, we'd like to thank the teachers and students from across the disciplines at Iowa State University, Northern Kentucky University, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and the University of Central Arkansas who have enthusiastically participated in our VCEs and who have consented to participate in our classroom/workplace research.