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Community building from a distance
Dalarna University, School of Humanities and Media Studies, English.
2011 (English)In: Edulearn11, Barcelona, 2011, p. 2295-2304Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This presentation is concerned with communication in an online learning environment and attempts to shed light on community building strategies used by students in the asynchronous online discussion forums. The material for this study was collected from text-based asynchronous discussion forums which constituted part of the compulsory course work for a course in English proficiency at second semester university level in Sweden. The students were divided into three separate groups and all three had the same course material and were taught by the same instructor. The instructor had no discussion forum input besides the initial instructions for how the students were expected to use it. The students’ task was to ask questions and answer others’ questions. Instructor feedback was given at a later date in a seminar. All three groups had other course activities, such as real time seminars, besides the discussion forums. Two of the groups studied online exclusively while the third group studied had their real time seminars in the same physical environment on campus. In order to determine how and to what extent students used community building devices in their communication, Lapadat’s (2007) model of discourse devices used for community building was adapted. The study revealed that disclosure, asking for and offering help, inviting comment and alignment were used by all three groups. There were however discourse devices used for building community the two online groups used but that were not used by the campus group, that is, the group that met in the same physical environment for seminars. Those that studied on campus rarely used greetings, social remarks and nor did they employ closings adapted from the genre of letter writing and email. All three of these were commonly used by participants in the exclusively online groups.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Barcelona, 2011. p. 2295-2304
Keywords [en]
Community building, distance education
National Category
Specific Languages
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-5657OAI: oai:dalea.du.se:5657DiVA, id: diva2:522315
Conference
Edulearn11 , Barcelona, 4-6 juli, 2011
Available from: 2011-08-08 Created: 2011-08-08 Last updated: 2018-01-12Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Language and interaction in online asynchronous communication in university level English courses
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Language and interaction in online asynchronous communication in university level English courses
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Interaction involves people communicating and reacting to each other. This process is key to the study of discourse, but it is not easy to study systematically how interaction takes place in a specific communicative event, or how it is typically performed over a series of repeated communicative events. However, with a written record of the interaction, it becomes possible to study the process in some detail. This thesis investigates interaction through asynchronous written discussion forums in a computer-mediated learning environment.

In particular, this study investigates pragmatic aspects of the communicative event which the asynchronous online discussions comprise. The first case study examines response patterns to messages by looking at the content of initial messages and responses, in order to determine the extent to which characteristics of the messages themselves or other situational factors affect the interaction. The second study examines in what ways participants use a range of discourse devices, including formulaic politeness, humour and supportive feedback as community building strategies in the interaction. The third study investigates the role of the subject line of messages in the interaction, for example by examining how participants choose different types of subject lines for different types of messages. The fourth study examines to what extent features serving a deictic function are drawn on in the interaction and then compares the findings to both oral conversation and formal academic discourse.

The overall findings show a complex communicative situation shaped by the medium itself, type of activity, the academic discipline and topic of discussion and by the social and cultural aspects of tertiary education in an online learning environment. In addition, the findings may also provide evidence of learning.

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad University Press, 2015
Keywords
Discussion forums, asynchronous CMC, net-based learning, interaction, discourse
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
Intercultural Studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:du-16513 (URN)
Public defence
2015-02-06, Fryxell, Universitetsgatan 2, 651 88 Karlstad, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-12-09 Created: 2014-12-09 Last updated: 2018-01-11Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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