Studies in Learning, Evaluation, Innovation and Development > Vol. 8, No. 1 (2011)

The potential of on-line lectures: Reaping the rewards of ‘Third spaces’

Jennifer Elsden-Clifton, RMIT
Kathy Jordan, RMIT


This paper explores the learning potential of rapidly developing web-based lecture software programs such as Elluminate Live! (Elluminate). Specifically, it examines how this technology can challenge conventional notions of control and interaction associated with face-to-face environments and synchronous computer-mediated communication. In doing so, we argue that the technology can potentially create ‘third spaces’ which displaces power traditions, sets up new structures which gives rise to “a new area of negotiation, meaning and representation”(Bhabha, 1990, p. 211). This paper uses data collected from an Elluminate session with beginning teachers within a professional education program in Victoria, Australia. This research provides a case study of how beginning teachers used aspects of the technology to take up third spaces. It also explores some of the potential rewards to be reaped from the different interactions that characterise this third space, including: creating a space for learners to have more control over interaction; providing a bridge between the learners’ experiences and content; and a shifting of the traditional power relationship of instructor/learner present in face-to-face contexts.

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