The academy has deconstructed itself. Or has it reconstructed itself? Who are we: those of us who have torn down the walls and are reconstructing virtual walls, and just how and why has this reconstruction occurred? Technology has allowed us to construct identities of collegiality for which know no boundaries yet exist.

The focus of my inquiry is to examine, with help from my co-panelists and the audience, constructing identities online. Whether a "real" answer will emerge is not even a consideration in so much as reality in the virtual environment does not exist. However, some answers will emerge if all traditional approaches to looking at identity are tossed into cyperspace. It is just that tossing into cyperspace of traditional approaches that I wish to consider. Reconstructed identity in a virtual environment is complex: not necessarily in a schizoid sense, but in a "real" sense.

The World Wide Web has become one site of this construction. By constructing a web page in the form of a personal homepage, a person is able to be virtually who he of she chooses to be at that time and for any given length of time. A web page affords the means for the person to construct a static identity to be viewed by the world for as long as the web author wishes to own that identity. How very interesting that most personal web pages advertise "this page is under construction." That ad in itself becomes part of the identity of the web author as does every word, image, sound, and link on that page. When students in one of my classes construct their home pages, the students indeed are constructing identities for themselves.

I propose interactively to show that virtual reality has no "real" identities--only continuously reconstructed identities in what I will try to define as a static web environment.

Presenter: Diane Howard


Target Audience: Not Applicable

Add your comment about this presentation

Return to the Schedule of Abstracts