Participation Patterns in Moderated Online Synchronous Tutorial Discussions

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Research and Development in Higher Education: Enhancing Higher Education, Theory and Scholarship Vol. 30

July, 2007, 651 pages
Published by
Geoffrey Crisp & Margaret Hicks
0 908557 72 8

Given the sociocultural constructivist perspective that knowledge building occurs during dialogic interaction, the availability of participation opportunities in meaning negotiation processes is hence essential to constructing shared understandings. In distance education, interaction is largely facilitated by CMC technologies. While the asynchronous CMC mode is widely held to offer extended time for contribution, less is known about the impact of the synchronous CMC mode on participation opportunities in online learning processes. This paper introduces an innovative case of the instructional application of online synchronous (chat) interaction in a distance undergraduate course. Survey and discourse analyses results reveal different extent and patterns of participation during moderated chat tutorial discussions in two online groups. The findings present pedagogical implications for the design of virtual learning environments, and prompt reflection on the desirability and feasibility of ensuring equality of participation in online synchronous learning processes.

Keywords: online synchronous collaborative learning; sociocultural constructivism; participation. 

Participation Patterns in Moderated Online Synchronous Tutorial Discussions

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Lim, H.