Phenomenology & Practice announces a special issue devoted to the phenomenological description and exploration of the experience of being online in educational or pedagogical contexts. The intent of this special issue is to focus particularly on epistemology of practice, on practice as pathic knowledge and/or as tact, unfolding in online contexts. These aspects of practice may be revealed through relations of the self to oneself or to another, and as situated in both virtual and physical worlds –in terms of the existential experience of lived (and extended) body, lived time, lived space, and lived relation. Sensitivity to self and other, and to experience in all of its dimensions requires a shift from commonplace terminology to vocabularies more evocative of experiential nuance. In the case of the often jargon-riddled discourses of online technologies or “environments,” we believe that this is particularly important. Such a shift may even begin with the recognition that these online contexts are not so much “environments” (causal configurations of software, hardware and other factors) as they are “primordially linguistic” worlds: “To have a world means to have an orientation (Verhalten) toward it…. to have a world…is to have language. The concept of world is thus opposed to the concept of environment…” (Gadamer 2004, 440-441).
Developing written accounts of lived experiences in experiential worlds is an integral part of understanding the significance of such experiences. To that end, the editors of this special issue are soliciting scholar-writer-practitioners who wish engage rigorously in descriptive and interpretive phenomenological writing intended to illuminate themes of online pedagogical experience. Is this experience and are these themes similar to or different from those described in face-to-face classrooms (e.g., as described in Phenomenology & Practice 6)? How, for example, might one be “called” by the voiceless words of another online? How is appropriate receptivity, passivity or attuned pedagogical action manifest in the asynchronous world of words of the online class discussion? How might a glance of recognition of another be directed via a Webcam? Description and interpretation of these and related questions and experiential moments are strongly encouraged for this special issue.
At the same time, descriptive and reflective phenomenological writing of other orientations (transcendental, existential, experiential, linguistic, hermeneutic, semiotic, ethical) is also welcome. This descriptive inquiry can take as its subject, for example, the experience of “being online” as a teacher or a student, being simultaneously (or alternatingly) in the screen and embodied in a lab, classroom, café or elsewhere, being engaged with an interface in experiences ranging from flow to interruption, or the emergence of personal, formative knowledge online.