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An Epistemological Framework for Analyzing Student Interactions in Computer-Mediated Communication Environments
Article

, Cornell University, United States ; , Ithaca College, United States ; , Cornell University, United States

Journal of Interactive Learning Research Volume 12, Number 1, ISSN 1093-023X Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC

Abstract

As applications of computer-mediated communication (CMC) become more accepted for teaching, educators will need to under-stand the strengths and constraints of the diverse media that can support or impede learning and communication. The case study in this article examines communication patterns and learning pro-cesses of students who used two forms of mediated communica-tion to discuss class topics: an asynchronous electronic bulletin board (BBS) and a synchronous text chat environment, Internet Relay Chat (IRC). Most of the discussions in the BBS environ-ment were well structured and developed. However, very few students had what can be considered genuine interactions with peers. The postings on the BBS resembled private arguments and analyses about an issue posted to a public bulletin board. In contrast, the IRC discussions showed more collaboration, social interaction, and conflict. However, students spent more time so-cializing than focusing on the task at hand. Results suggest that the BBS may be a useful tool for promoting critical thinking skills and reflective thought, although strategies need to be de-signed to increase students' interactions. Environments such as chat, used for specific discussion tasks, may be a good forum for idea-generation and immediate feedback, but do not encourage re-flective thought.

Citation

GAY, G., Pena-Shaff, J. & MARTIN, W. (2001). An Epistemological Framework for Analyzing Student Interactions in Computer-Mediated Communication Environments. Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 12(1), 41-68. Norfolk, VA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved January 22, 2020 from .

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