The Albatross voyage : a study on the effect of the internet on expedition communication

Grainger, N 2006, The Albatross voyage : a study on the effect of the internet on expedition communication, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Education, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title The Albatross voyage : a study on the effect of the internet on expedition communication
Author(s) Grainger, N
Year 2006
Abstract Since the advent of the Internet expeditioners travelling alone or in small groups to remote locations have been using email and websites to communicate with sponsors, supporters, friends and family. This brings new communication opportunities to expeditioners and at the same time may be changing the expedition experience.

The author used the experience of participating in an 11-month sailing voyage around the world as a platform for this research by project. The purpose of the voyage was to raise awareness of the plight of the albatross. The author examined how the Internet shaped this expedition, the purpose of expedition communication and how meaning was constructed for a remote audience. Using a constructionist epistemology, a phenomenological approach is used in the development and analysis of a narrative account of the voyage, its preparation and aftermath.

The Exegesis contains a detailed account of one Leg of the Voyage, from Cape Town to Melbourne, with a particular focus on the online communications. A full account of the voyage, again with a particular emphasis on communications, is contained in the Durable Record.

The potential availability of Internet communication was found to have been intrinsic to the design of the expedition and enabled the Voyage to forgo traditional media sponsorship and yet still attract and engage a worldwide audience through an institutional community website. The lack of use of the Internet’s capability to support online discussion and build communities on this Voyage and other expedition websites sampled, is explored and it is proposed to be an expression of these expeditioners possible disinterest in feedback. The building of online communities around an expedition website is suggested to be an area of opportunity with the potential to engage site visitors, to enable new insights to be gained into the life of expeditioners, and to provide greater exposure for sponsors.

A simple classification of expeditions by their leadership, organisation, purpose and membership is proposed and the differing purposes of communication in each considered.

The use of email on the voyage was found to facilitate and improve contact with supporters, family and friends. Whilst adding a sense of security it was also found to be time consuming, stressful, power hungry and to build a sense of obligation to communicate. Its general reliability led to exchanges on non-critical matters and to a reduction in the feeling of remoteness that some expeditioners may be seeking.

Whilst on this voyage technical and budgetary constraints limited the full use of the Internet’s capability to utilise text, images and sound to construct meaning, the effective and timely use of a short daily narrative, aimed at a known audience is demonstrated.

The author justifies drawing learning from his participation in the Voyage through the use of experiential learning and reflective learning theory arguing that the preparation for expeditions, participation in them and mediated reflection following them, are rich learning environments provided that good records are kept, particularly a frequently written personal journal.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Education
Keyword(s) expedition
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Created: Wed, 16 Feb 2011, 13:21:40 EST
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