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Synchronous online conference-based instruction: A study of whiteboard interactions and student writing

Computers and Composition Volume 23, Number 1 ISSN 8755-4615 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


This paper describes a small-scale, empirical study of synchronous conference-based online writing instruction (OWI) using an electronic whiteboard in a professional tutorial setting. Linguistic analysis of participant talk indicated that the interactions were both idea-development focused and task oriented as opposed to socially oriented. The interactions often consisted of detailed dialogue wherein participants used primarily declarative language to give each other information about the writing under development and its processes. However, nearly half of the talk was oriented toward achieving interpersonal connections, facilitating the interaction, and communicating about the whiteboard's workspace. Textual analysis of the drafted student writing subsequent to the instructional interactions indicated that nearly two thirds of the interactions could be connected through iterability or presupposition with the writing and revisions. Most of the traceable writing and revision changes were meaning-preserving in nature and of insignificant to moderate rhetorical force. Such writing and revision changes were generated by students or online instructors or through shared interaction, demonstrating a highly collaborative process. Based on these findings, implications emerge for online instructor training, for student preparation to use whiteboard platforms, and for future research into synchronous conference-based OWI.


Hewett, B.L. Synchronous online conference-based instruction: A study of whiteboard interactions and student writing. Computers and Composition, 23(1), 4-31. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved May 14, 2021 from .

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