HELMeTO 2022

4th International Conference on Higher Education Learning Methodologies and Technologies Online

September 21-23, 2022
Palermo, Italy

The digital innovation of university teaching observed through the prism of emotions

Aim and Scope

The pandemic has given an extraordinary acceleration to the possibilities of universities to provide distance courses (Ramella, Rostan 2020). Courses based on distance learning, still marginal and experimental in Italy, until the end of 2019, today significantly complete the training offers of numerous universities (Bozzetti, De Luigi 2021).

The innovation of university teaching does not only concern the introduction of web-based courses and digital teaching tools, but also the experimentation of new learning methods (Rivoltella 2020) in which the differences between face-to-face learning and distance learning are increasingly narrowing.

The analysis of these processes reveals interactive and co-constructed training mechanisms between teachers and students, new sharing spaces characterized by emotions that evoke common emotional worlds. Distance courses and digital methods share similar learning patterns with face-to-face learning that owe their success to emotional presence (Lipman 2003; Marchand, Gutierrez 2011).

Although in recent years, there has been a growing interest in the role of emotions in academic settings (Linnenbrink-Garcia, Pekrun, 2011; Korpershoek et al. 2016), especially in how emotions shape student engagement and learning, it is important to deepen their functioning mechanisms and their consequences on learning.

According to the pragmatic framework (Cleveland-Innes, Campbell 2012), the emotional experience is a social process (Bruni 2021) that shapes the ways trough which teachers and students build their didactic communities. It is a social process conditioned by the technological infrastructures and which affects the quality of knowledge.

In university e-learning environments (Swerdloff 2015; Williams 2017), the functions of emotions can be observed at least from three distinct perspectives of analysis:
– professional communitarization processes;
– interaction with technological and digital infrastructure;
-the consequences on disciplinary knowledge.

The interdependencies between the distinct perspectives of analysis require new analytical efforts and open up new fields of research.
How is it possible to analyze the e-learning processes through a theory of emotions?
What form do emotions take in the online learning environment?
How do technological and digital infrastructures shape the emotional experience?
And finally, which is the role played by a community of inquire in the emotional experience?

Potential Scopes of Interest

Starting from the interaction of different disciplines, the session aims at collecting and analyzing e-learning practices that focus on the functions of emotions in university e-learning courses.

In particular, the call aims at reflecting on the digital innovation of university teaching through the prism of emotions and to reconstruct the teaching methods and participatory mechanisms that arouse them.

It is mainly aimed at teachers and researchers interested on the: 

  • emotional presence in building an online learning community
  • aspects of interaction (emotional intelligence, empathy, affect) 
  • emotional responses experienced in an e-learning environment
  • effects of emotional presence on disciplinary knowledge.


Fabrizio Barpi, Politecnico di Torino, fabrizio.barpi@polito.it
Davide Dalmazzo, Politecnico di Torino, davide.dalmazzo@polito.it
Antonella De Blasio, eCampus University, antonella.deblasio@uniecampus.it
Fiorella Vinci, eCampus University, fiorella.vinci@uniecampus.it


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