ERIC Number: EJ852821
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Oct
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
Social Conversation and Effective Discussion in Online Group Learning
Chen, Fei-Ching; Wang, Thomas C.
Educational Technology Research and Development, v57 n5 p587-612 Oct 2009
This paper studies the social talk of high school students in online discussion forums. On-task talk has generally been assessed as valuable discussion because it contributes directly to productive learning. Off-task conversation, on the other hand, is often regarded as useless and a waste of time. Should this social talk indeed be regarded as an off-task activity? Is social talk such as greeting, excusing, comforting and sharing personal feelings irrelevant to learning? This study analyzes threads and argues that social talk is interwoven with on-task talk. It is interesting to note that a substantial quantity of off-task messages served the latent function of guiding group discussion toward making progress in solving collaborative problems in a subtle and indirect manner. The power of "soft talk" embedded in off-task social conversation is explored and fully discussed.
Descriptors: Discussion Groups, High School Students, Communication Strategies, Discourse Analysis, Content Analysis, Educational Technology, Computer Uses in Education, Computer Mediated Communication, Internet, Time on Task, Interpersonal Communication
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools; Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A