University staff are now encouraged to supplement their classroom activity with computer‐based tools and resources accessible through virtual learning environments (VLEs). Meanwhile, university students increasingly make recreational use of computer networks in the form of various social software applications. This paper explores tensions of presentation and communication between these two contexts. Through analysing a large number of course websites, the teaching voice in VLEs is shown to be in a very different register than the voice of communication in social networking environments. Yet isolated examples demonstrate that learning platforms can support materials conveying a similar kind of conviviality. It is suggested that the educational practice of university teachers could move closer to this communicative style and reasons are considered as to why this has not yet happened
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