Örebro, Sweden, 22-24 September 2015

The international conference Virtual Learning Sites as Languaging Spaces (ViLS-2) will be held at Örebro University and Örebro City konferenscenter, Sweden, September 22-24, 2015. This conference is being organized by the research group CCD, Communication, Culture & Diversity at the School HumES, Humanities, Education and Social Sciences at Örebro University, Sweden within the framework of project CINLE (Communication and Identity processes in Netbased Learning Environments).

Background and objectives

Digital technology shapes human interaction and allows for specific identity positions, creating a range of genres and traditions in virtual learning sites. Here participation means to engage in interaction at different scales or with different experiential trajectories, where language varieties, social codes and technologies are in tandem. A specific interest in ViLS-2 relates to alternative approaches towards the study of Time, Space and Place. How are these co-created in interaction when people, both inside and outside educational arenas, engage with a fluid supply of information and resources? ViLS-2 will constitute yet another international activity within project CINLE. As compared to a previous international multidisciplinary symposium ViLS, held in April 2013, ViLS-2 will include the preparation of a series of full papers that will be considered for publication in an edited volume.

The main objective of the ViLS-2 international conference is to, within the framework of project CINLE, establish a forum for dialogue on the study of interaction, learning and identity formation in virtual environments. The themes and issues raised two years ago will be re-focused again, this time with special attention on the languaging and construction of time and space in virtual sites. The 2015 ViLS-2 conference will include presentations by invited plenary speakers as well as provide opportunities for panel discussions led by internationally acclaimed researchers in the conference areas of interest.


The ongoing work within project CINLE has highlighted how communication that is digitally mediated affords flexibility in time and space as well as hybrid forms of languaging. Participants in online environments engage in transnational mediascapes at the borderlands of different local and global communities. The concepts of (im)mobility, hybridity and learning need to be interrogated in relation to the emergent sociologies of education which, we argue, shape and are shaped by alternative paths of participation in environments that are not defined by walls, a ceiling or the floor. The conference theme at ViLS-2, Virtual Learning Sites as languaging spaces frames broader interests with the intention of engaging participants cross-sectorially, to facilitate the movement of people (presenters and featured speakers at the conference) but also, and more importantly, of concepts and ideas. The latter allows for revisiting the study of everyday online interaction in its complexities, by looking in the middle of things as well as at the boundaries. The conference is also envisaged as a platform that will critically discuss online education in terms of ‘for whom’, ‘for what purposes’ in relation to the societal expectations of online learning and instruction at a time of global-local transitions.

The ViLS-2 conference is envisaged in terms of a series of keynote contributions, paper presentations and panel discussions that will stimulate an exchange of ideas and experiences with the aim of contributing towards an understanding of the complexity of mundane interactions and students’ languaging activities in online virtual environments, not least with regards to issues of inclusion and personal agency. Focusing social practices and ethnographically framed research, this critical multidisciplinary research arena will, we hope, allow for establishing future collaboration, not least with regards to teacher education.

Confirmed international featured speakers:

Biswajit Das, Jamia Milla Islamia University, New Delhi, India

Regine Hampel, Open University, UK

Francesca Helm, University of Padova, Italy

Kevin Leander, Vanderbilt University, USA

David Malinovski, Yale University, USA

Mathew Martin, AYJ National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped, Mumbai, India

Panchanan Mohanty, University of Hyderabad, India

Elina Tapio, University of Jyväskylä, Finland

John Traxler, University of Wolverhampton, UK

Organizing committee

Prof. Sangeeta Bagga-Gupta, Örebro University, Ms. Giulia Messina Dahlberg, Örebro University and Dalarna University, Associate Prof. Ylva Lindberg, Jönköping University, Senior lecturer Mats Tegmark, Dalarna University, Senior lecturer Sylvi Vigmo, University of Gothenburg and Ms. Kicki Ekberg, Örebro University

Conference chair
Prof. Sangeeta Bagga-Gupta
CCD research group, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (HumEs), Örebro University