Learning from the Rhetoric of the Moment: A Study of Rural and Remote Uses of Telecommunications

Learning from the Rhetoric of the Moment: A Study of Rural and Remote Uses of Telecommunications Thesis

Department of Administrative, Higher and Adult Education Studies

  • Author(s): Hansen, Jens
  • Published: 1995
  • Publisher: University of New England
  • Volume: PhD

Abstract: Telecommunications are a vital learning medium for rural and remote dwellers but are largely neglected by communications and adult education researchers. The uses of telecommunications in rural and remote Australia were examined by gathering qualitative and quantitative data from 135 rural and remote subjects. The emphasis was upon interpreting data in order to heighten awareness of those variables which impact upon rural and remote people when they use telecommunications to learn from each other. Respondents were invited to make contact via a freecall telephone number after the research had been widely advertised through the media. Subjects completed a questionnaire and kept a diary of telecommunications interactions over two days. In addition 40 in-depth semi-structured interviews were completed as were two site studies and a number of focus group discussions. Both qualitative and quantitative data analysis procedures were employed with each approach being used to inform the research about the potential of the other. The data were also examined with reference to the thesis that telecommunications are a medium for informal and incidental learning. It is suggested, therefore, that Jarvis' model of adult learning in the social context can usefully be extended to incorporate telecommunications mediated learning and that the taxonomy of communications activities developed by Pye can be applied to the analysis of telecommunications episodes. It was discovered that UHF is an important technology but that its use is confined to functional information exchange because it is a public medium. Facsimile transmissions are also predominantly used for functional transmissions and it became apparent that public versus private, and real time versus asynchronous time are each important determinants of communications strategies. The research showed that although rural and remote subjects did not differ markedly with respect to the frequency and duration of their calls, remote people paid significantly more for their telephone services. In addition, it was found that telecommunication about personal matters tend to be nested in homogenous groups with newcomers mainly talking to, and learning from, other newcomers while locals mainly interact with and learn from other locals. It is suggested researchers should appraise the social context of telecommunications and the dynamics of telecommunications episodes in order to understand the complex telecommunications process.

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Suggested Citation
Hansen, Jens, 1995, Learning from the Rhetoric of the Moment: A Study of Rural and Remote Uses of Telecommunications, Volume:PhD, Thesis, viewed 14 August 2022, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=16072.

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