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Managing Learning in Virtual Settings - call

July 1, 2003

A book edited by Antonio Dias de Figueiredo and Ana Paula Afonso

and published by Idea Group, Inc.

Submission Deadline: September 15, 2003

You are cordially invited to contribute a chapter to this coming book.


In spite of massive technological progresses, the practices of education have remained almost unchanged for the last two centuries. Inspired by the machine paradigm of the Industrial Society, education was viewed as an industrialized way of "delivering" knowledge. Now, as learning and education extend into cyberspace, and the dawn of the Knowledge Society is announced, we seem to be unable to break away from those outdated practices, into practices that value community, interaction, context, organic processes, variable geometry, complexity, flux, change, and many other attributes that radically distinguish our era from that of our industrial-age ancestors. Attempts to improve education at the distance through the use of technology, namely e-learning, suffer from the absence of sound educational paradigms that could, indeed,

support genuine renewal.


The book attempts to contribute to this renewal by pointing out that beyond the delivery of information, that is, of "content", we need to take systematically into account interaction and activity, the learning "contexts", the completely renewed social and cultural environments that education is calling for and technologies are now capable of delivering. The general goal is to discuss the basis of a broad framework for the development and management of virtual learning communities, enriched with contributions from domains as diverse as

flexible cognition, situated learning, communities of practice, computer supported cooperative learning, organizational learning, knowledge management, and many others. We expect to place emphasis on the role of context in building environments for e-learning and to open up new avenues in understanding the influence of contextual issues on learning.

Our main interest lies in the interactions among members and between them and the learning context itself: how they relate and co-develop, how they influence learning, how their creation can be fostered. The challenge underlying the project is that of achieving a balanced combination of all the dimensions and components of the learning architecture, where the need for one dimension cannot be fulfilled at the expense of the others. A framework for the design of learning contexts, with contributions from a broad range of spheres of human

activity, is needed to provide a deeper understanding of how a specific design serves the different requirements of the learning architecture of a learning community for e-learning.


We envisage the publication of an interdisciplinary work that rests strongly upon the views of experts coming from different scientific domains, such as education, information systems, psychology, sociology, anthropology, management and organizational studies. To this end, recommended topics include, but are not limited to:

- Development and management of virtual communities of practice.

- Key dimensions of learning contexts.

- Educational platforms for contextual learning.

- Business models for e-learning.

- Affective behavior in virtual environments.

- The social structure of communities of practice.

- Scenarios for web-based learning.

- Contextual assessment and the role of peers.

- Quality management in learning contexts.

- Knowledge management and learning communities.

- Managing organizational learning.

- Motivational factors in the deployment of virtual communities.

- School resistance to the adoption of web-based learning.

- Ethical issues in the management of learning in virtual contexts.

- Case-Studies.

- Research in Progress related to the subject.


University educators and educators in general; university administrators; researchers; e-learning system managers; instructional designers; e-learning based professional companies; corporate training organizations and departments,

general audience with an interest in e-learning. This book is expected to raise the scholarly recognition that content makes little sense in the absence of well designed contexts.


Researchers and practitioners are invited to submit on or before September 15, 2003, a 2-5 page manuscript proposal clearly explaining the concerns of the proposed chapter and how it relates to the mission of this book, including a tentative contents table. Authors will be notified by October 1, 2003 about the status of their proposals, and authors of accepted proposals will be sent chapter organizational guidelines. Full chapters are expected to be submitted on or before December 15, 2003. All submitted chapters will be reviewed on a

double-blind basis. The book is scheduled to be published by Idea Group, Inc., publisher of the "Idea Group Publishing", "Information Science Publishing", and "IRM Press" imprints by early 2005.


For this book project, a website has been established which provides the Call for Chapters and all announcements and additional information.



- Chapter Proposal Due: by September 15, 2003

- Proposal Acceptance Notification: by October 1, 2003

- Full Chapters Due: by December 15, 2003


Please send all inquiries and submissions to the Editors:

Prof. António Dias Figueiredo

Department of Informatics Engineering

Polo II of the University of Coimbra

3030-194 Coimbra, Portugal

Tel.: (+351-239)790021

Fax: (+351-239)701266

e-mail: adf@dei.uc.pt



Ana Paula Afonso

Centre for Informatics and Systems - UC

Department of Informatics Engineering

Polo II of the University of Coimbra

3030-194 Coimbra - Portugal

Tel.: (+351-239)790022

Fax: (+351-239)701266

e-mail: apa@ci.uc.pt

Submitted by: Angela Scott

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