Featured Dissertation: Virtually invisible: at-risk boys and their concepts of self as beings-in-the-online-world

Dissertation of the Day*

UVic News recently announced that UVic ranks among the top performers in 10 fields, according to the 2019 Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings by Subject.  To celebrate, we would like to feature some of the graduate research under each of these disciplines. Today, we feature a 2002 Education (Curriculum and Instruction) dissertation:

Virtually invisible: at-risk boys and their concepts of self as beings-in-the-online-world

by Jordan Tinney


As communications technologies flourish, increasing numbers of students are spending inordinate amounts of time in online communities. Often, students who spend excess time online are boys who are experiencing difficulty in school. For many of these boys, their participation in virtual worlds and their use of computers has shown them to be successful learners. However, for a variety of reasons, these boys continue to be disengaged in school and seriously at-risk for failure. This study explores the lives of at-risk boys who spend several hours a day in online worlds. The researcher is a long time participant in virtual worlds and through interviews examines the notions of self in online communities and how these at-risk boys navigate between their lives on and offline. The students’ participation in online forums may provide helpful insights into who they are and how we can best meet their needs in our schools. In addition to an examination of the social formation of self in online worlds, this study mounts a critique of the promotion of an Internet “culture” or “community”. In the text-based world of Internet Relay Chat (IRC), many of the foundations of what constitutes a culture may be absent and researchers may be too quick in accepting such forums as true communities.

To read more, visit UVicSpace https://dspace.library.uvic.ca//handle/1828/10357

*UVic’s open access repository, UVicspace, makes worldwide knowledge mobilization possible. Through this platform, researchers at any institution have access to dissertations (and theses and graduate projects) published by our graduate students. This also makes works available to the interested layperson, who may be engaged in learning more about the research being done at UVic, with no paywall. UVic’s graduate students are doing valuable research every day – but sometimes it goes unsung. Our goal with this series is to shine a light on our students by featuring excellence, one achievement at a time.

The UVic LIbraries ePublishing Services Team