ERIC Number: EJ831794
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Sep
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
Interactional and Structural Characteristics of Communication and Social Interactions during Computer-Mediated Communication
Gibbs, William J.; Bernas, Roman S.
Journal of Computing in Higher Education, v20 n1 p3-33 Sep 2008
This study used precepts of social network theory to examine the interactional and structural characteristics of communication in peer-mentoring conferences. Twelve discussion conferences were set up to support students during a teaching practicum experience. The conferences were governed by students with minimal instructor involvement. It was reasoned that because the conferences were established as a support network discussions would exhibit epistolary forms of communication indicative of students aligning with and supporting others. Epistolary discourse types were found. However, discussants posted a high proportion of expository statements or statements characterized by an intention to inform rather than support or engage with others. As dialogue progressed though, epistolary communication emerged. The study also found that enabling students to govern their own conferences can be useful and a viable means for them to support one another within a learning context. The conference density of connectedness among discussants reported in the study was small. It is suggested that as density increases and the number of connections grow, managing information will likely become challenging and thus the services of a moderator may be useful to engender effective communication.
Descriptors: Practicums, Computer Mediated Communication, Social Networks, Discourse Analysis, Peer Relationship, Mentors, Preservice Teacher Education, Educational Technology, Technology Integration, Social Support Groups, Computer Uses in Education
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A