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The history of distance education in many ways is a history about the evolution of synchronous and asynchronous communication technologies. Distance education, and online learning in particular, has primarily relied on asynchronous communication technologies over the years. However, COVID-19 has sparked a new interest in using synchronous tools for interaction and collaboration in open, distance, and digital education. Given this it is incumbent upon educators and researchers alike to be familiar not only with the current iteration of synchronous communication technologies but also with how they have developed and evolved over time, the affordances and constraints of synchronous communication, interaction, and collaboration, some of the different types, and the overall implications for future research and practice.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.