The Importance of Liveness within the Online Education During the Time of COVID-19
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The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the whole world, turned our lives upside down and had an impact on most of our daily activities, duties and interactions. As a result of required self- isolation from others, most of the educational buildings needed to adapt to online education. Consequently, technological devices are placed in between the teacher and students. This research focuses specifically on the online education conducted by Utrecht University which prefers to use the communication platform Microsoft Teams. Here, most of the educators are advised to and/or prefer to use the asynchronous education, which is based on pre-recording the study material and sending it to the students who then watch it individually. However, this research argues that they should also take into consideration the synchronous education, meaning meeting with the students live online in a shared virtual reality, as an important strategical tool. This thesis investigates the online live and pre-recorded lectures in depth. Consequently, other forms of classes such as seminars are excluded. Both of these types of lectures are analysed through the dispositif analysis (an in-depth analysis of the technology, users and text) and through various supporting concepts such as liveness, connectivity and participation. Subsequently, this thesis provides a comparison between the two, highlighting the different benefits and possibilities offered by each of them. The main findings argue that the asynchronous education offers stable technological performance and flexibility for the students. However, the synchronous education allows the users to connect, engage and participate with one another in a shared time and virtual space. These features offer a familiar way of education as we were used to before the pandemic started. Therefore, instead of highlighting the ubiquitous individuality we live in, the synchronous education offers connection and social interaction through technological device from the safety of one’s home.