Collaborative learning and sense of audience in two computer-mediated discourse communities
Harriet Napierkowski, University of Colorado at Denver, United States
University of Colorado at Denver . Awarded
One of the hallmarks of critical thinking and thus of good academic writing is an understanding of audience. In a comparison of composition students in an onsite networked class and an online class, this study examined differences in students' attitudes toward collaborative learning and evidence of audience awareness in their writing. Both groups used computer-mediated instructional technology, and both were grounded in collaborative learning pedagogy.
The experimental variable was the absence of face-to-face interaction among the online students. A post-treatment experimental design was used with random assignment of students. A Likert-type survey instrument measured attitudes toward four collaborative learning constructs: sense of belonging to a discourse community, perceived value of belonging to a discourse community, perceived benefits of peer-response feedback on texts-in-progress, and preferred medium for peer-response feedback—oral/face-to-face or written/online. A primary-trait scoring rubric measured six audience awareness traits in posttreatment argumentative texts: exigency, empirical support, logical appeal, ethical appeal, emotional appeal, and treatment of opposing views. No significant differences emerged between groups in the four collaborative learning constructs or in the audience awareness measures. This study suggests that the absence of face-to-face communication does not significantly affect students' attitudes toward collaborative learning or their ability to inscribe audience in argumentative discourse.
Napierkowski, H. Collaborative learning and sense of audience in two computer-mediated discourse communities. Ph.D. thesis, University of Colorado at Denver.
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