The Use Of Virtual Ethnography In Distance Education Research

Kadriye UZUN
C. Hakan AYDIN

3D virtual worlds can and have been used as a meeting place for distance education courses. Virtual worlds allow for group learning of the kind enjoyed by students gathered in a virtual classroom, where they know they are in a communal space, they are aware of the social process of learning and are affected by the presence and behaviour of their fellow students and tutor.Traditional ethnography has been adjusted to virtual environments and much research on this issue has been carried out under the umbrella of virtual ethnography. The increase in diverse Internet applications can be pointed out as the cause of this inclination and increase. In this study, the authors explain the method of virtual ethnography in detail, inform about data gathering instruments such as participatory virtual observation, online and offline (face to face) interviews touch upon ethical questions related to field studies and highlight the elements that call for attention in the use of virtual ethnography in distance education studies.

KEYWORDS: Distance Education Researches, Virtual Worlds, Virtual Ethnography, Online Participant Observation.