Developing e-Learning applications concerns issues of human communication and facilitating technology. One of the key research issues in Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) is the participation of remote audience in a communicative activity. This is particularly important in learning contexts. In the two studies reported here, we discuss systems infrastructure by presenting the concept of the Virtual Observatory through the AstroGrid project. We explore how such a Grid can be used in the future as an e-Learning service platform and as a tool for wider audiences that require access to documents and similar information resources. However, an integrated e-Learning environment has to provide access to people (teachers and students) as well. In order to explore how the two kinds of facility may be integrated, we discuss the design of communication tools that provide access to both people and information. We also present Augmented Reality (AR) applications that facilitate teacher interaction with remote student audience by increasing the interactivity of the virtual classroom. Studies of virtual classrooms have identified limitations of computer-mediated learning environments since they do not provide sufficient contextual information to support communication. The virtual information space is critically dependent on the visualization aspects of the user interface. This has been designed with additional functionality to enable the lecturer to navigate the remote information space.
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