Distinguished Professor of Distance Education and Instructional Technology in the Organization, Information and Learning Sciences Program at UNM Charlotte Nirmalani "Lani" Gunawardena presents a keynote address, titled "Culture and Online Learning: Global Perspectives,” at E-Learn, World Conference on E-Learning in Hawaii on Thursday, Oct. 22.

By subscribing to a view of culture as negotiated online, she suggests that we can come to terms with the complexity of culture in online learning environments, by defining it from the perspective of the Internet as a culture in its own right where networked learning communities develop their own conventions for interaction, and what is acceptable and not acceptable behavior online.

Gunawardena’s keynote examines how culture influences the learning process online and offers a critique of most online learning designs that are based on western-centric ways of teaching, often at the expense of global students and explores emerging cultures in online learning environments such as the new visual and participatory cultures. She also discusses how they can be accounted for in learning design.

E-Learn is an international conference organized by the Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE) and co-sponsored by the “International Journal on E-Learning.” This annual conference serves as a multi-disciplinary forum for the exchange of information on research, development, and applications of all topics related to e-Learning in the corporate, government, healthcare, and higher education sectors.

For the past twenty-five years Gunawardena has published extensively on instructional technology, distance education, and online learning with a focus on higher education, and has over 100 publications to her credit.