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Whither communications?

A keynote address by

Trevor Barr
Swinburne University of Technology

This presentation will argue that so much of our attention in educational technology focuses on means and techniques and consequently little consideration is given to the understanding of the key conceptual frameworks. Trevor will present an overview of the major schools of thought about critical issues in contemporary communications and the associated vexed issues for the next decade. This will be a multi -disciplinary analysis drawing upon social, behavioural and business literature and experiences. His call will be that we need not only to use the new communication technologies in our teaching and learning but we need to teach about the new communication environment. Particular attention will be paid to debates about the future of the Internet from the perspective of end users. Only limited investigation has been undertaken into the nature of Internet audiences or participants in their different contexts. Questions that have not been systematically researched are about what motivates people to go onto the Net, and their sense of expectation of what it might be able to provide. There are also some critical user 'bottlenecks' that need to be understood before key initiatives, such as e-commerce, can succeed on a major scale. While technologists do valuable work on new security systems related to transactions so many users still fundamentally lack trust in trading on the Net. So where does this lack of trust come from, and how can we build greater confidence on the part of end users? An overriding theme in Trevor's address will be that the critical issues for us in the next decade will be not only what the technologies are going to be like but also understanding what we are going to be like.
Author: Professor Trevor Barr, Swinburne University of Technology. Email:

Please cite as: Barr, T. (2002). Whither communications? In S. McNamara and E. Stacey (Eds), Untangling the Web: Establishing Learning Links. Proceedings ASET Conference 2002. Melbourne, 7-10 July.

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Created 22 July 2002. Last revision: 22 July 2002.
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