We are proposing to develop strategies for co-production between academia and industry with regard to collaborating on research in electronically mediated communication. Högskolan Dalarna is one of the leading Swedish HEIs in distance education, so we are well suited to conducting research in this neglected area. The business community is increasingly concerned with the effect of their activities on the environment, and one way to promote sustainable development is to reduce travel by holding meetings through electronic media. The electronic communication of those concerned with business and education can be usefully compared in this respect.. One issue we want to address, to the clear benefit of our partners in industry, is how the electronic medium can aid long-distance communication by allowing increased social interaction. Face-to-face meetings will provide a source of comparison.
The research group within Högskolan Dalarna includes those interested in linguistics, literature, psychology, social anthropology, ICT and the visual arts. In the area of languages, Högskolan Dalarna occupies a unique position within Sweden as a centre for distance education. The HEI has also recently developed a series of strategy documents which identify distance education as one of the priority areas for research. Close cooperation between Högskolan Dalarna and industry, in the region of Dalarna are another important area which is stressed in these documents.
To sum up, we feel that our great experience in distance teaching gives us the basis to be able to research this and other types of electronically mediated communication. We hope to identify processes and strategies used to communicate successfully in these environments both within teaching and business. Another important goal of this project is to establish links with the business and industrial community, as encouraged by Högskolan Dalarna’s strategy documents.