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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26522

Title: Beyond Threaded Discourse
Authors: Hewitt, Jim
Keywords: online discourse
distance education
threaded discussions
Issue Date: 2001
Publisher: International Journal of Educational Telecommunications
Citation: Hewitt, J. (2001). Beyond threaded discourse. International Journal of Educational Telecommunications, 7(3), 207-221.
Abstract: The educational potential of asynchronous, computer-mediated conferencing is well documented. Opportunities for increased group interaction, more equitable communication patterns, higher degrees of reflection, and time-and-place-independent discussions are some of the benefits cited by researchers. This article focuses on one of the apparent limitations of the medium: the lack of support for convergent processes. Threaded online environments support electronic conversations that expand and branch, but provide few facilities for drawing together discourse in meaningful ways. The implications of this restriction are explored in two studies. The first study analyzes the degree to which students and instructors write convergent notes (e.g., notes that synthesize or summarize ideas) in three graduate-level computer conferencing courses. The second study explores student perceptions relating to their own synthesizing and summarizing practices. The results suggest that online participants rarely engage in convergent processes in spite of widespread agreement that such efforts confer educational benefits. Possible explanations for this phenomenon are discussed.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26522
Appears in Collections:Faculty (CTL)

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