The AETZone Experience: A Qualitative Analysis of the Use of Presence Pedagogy in a 3D Immersive Learning Environment

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Robert L. Sanders Ed.D., Professor (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
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Abstract: Faculty in the Department of Leadership and Educational Studies at Appalachian State University have utilized AETZone, a 3D virtual world to deliver graduate coursework for the past nine years. Instruction has been guided by the Reich College of Education’s social constructivist conceptual framework, resulting in a learning environment that emphasizes the social construction of knowledge through interaction with others within virtual communities of practice. Over time, certain teaching and learning behaviors and practices that reflect both the tenets of the social constructivist framework and the features of the virtual world have organically developed through faculty and student engagement in this unique learning space and have been referred to as Presence Pedagogy (P2). However, for this new pedagogical approach to serve as a model for future instruction, a more articulate operational definition of this model is needed. Therefore, the research question discussed in this paper is: To what extent is the Presence Pedagogy framework reflected in the actions and behaviors of students and faculty in the AETZone? The authors conclude that while the overall characteristics of P2 are supported, a gap exists in the model regarding interactions that are more social in nature. While social interaction may be implied in the P2 framework, more attention and emphasis is needed in terms of creating and maintaining this AETZone experience.

Additional Information

Sanders, R. L. & Melton, S. J. (2010, March) The AETZone experience: A qualitative analysis of the use of presence pedagogy in a 3D immersive learning environment. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 6(1), 62-70. (ISSN: 1558-9528) Published by the Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT). The version of record is available open access under a Creative Commons "Attribution-Non Commercial-Share Alike" license at
Language: English
Date: 2010
Social Constructivism, Presence Pedagogy, Virtual Worlds, AETZone, Presence, Interaction

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