16 SES 07, Tools for Supporting and Learning Online
Computer-mediated communication (CMC) is increasingly used in education. Online learning communities are an important means of sharing and creating knowledge (Yeh, 2010) and many researchers have emphasized that online learning communities promote active participation, support collaborative learning and improve learner cognitive abilities (e.g. Im, Lee, 2004).
Non-verbal behavior pre-dominates the effects of language content in communication, but computer-mediated communication reduces possibilities of nonverbal communication (Luor et al., 2010). Tu and McIsaac (2002) declare that interaction in web-based learning is influenced by students’ interaction and by the consciousness of the perception of other persons, which is called social presence. Social presence is the ability of learners to project themselves socially and emotionally as real people in a learning community (Garrison, Anderson & Archer, 2000).
Written text in computer differs also from written text in paper, because in computer photos, animations, audio and videos could be added (Savahl, September, Odendaal & Moos, 2008). Therefore using CMC needs new communication skills, especially in these platforms where video do not support communication. One of these platforms is blog. The use of different types of social software in education has increased in recent years. Blogs represent one kind of social software that is increasingly employed to enhance communication environments in the educational domain (Kim, 2008). Do we know enough how we should support learning in blogs?
Several suggestions are given to tutors in CMC. Rossman (1999) in his study about discussion boards claims, that tutor should offer learners content support (giving information about the learning content, explanations, arising discussions on topic ect.), social support (arising and maintaining learners’ interest and motivation) and organizational support (reminding deadlines, giving information about tasks and management issues).
In web-based courses learners achieve higher results and their satisfaction with course is higher if number of interactions between the learners and tutors are higher (Jiang & Ting, 2000). Churchill (2009) asserts that tutor should post regularly in blog. On the contrary Gerber, Grund and Grote (2008) have found out that total number of tutor posts was not related to the learning results. Only number of postings offering social support was related to the learning outcome.
Wheeler and Lambert-Heggs (2009) assert that tutor has to post the first posting in blog and after that tutor’s responsibility is to comment learners’ postings and offer additional activities (e.g. post links to interesting articles). Wopereis, Sloep and Poortman (2010) stress, that tutor’s feedback is essential in blog.
Despite that several theories are elaborated for CMC (e.g. Cues-filtered-out approach, social presence theory), concrete guidelines, how to support learners in blogs, are still missing or are controversial. Therefore the aim of this study was to find relationships between the characteristics of learners’ postings in blog and tutor’s postings in blog.
Churchill, D. (2009). Educational applications of Web 2.0: Using blogs to support teaching and learning, British Journal of Educational Technology, 40:1, 179-183. Fuller, F. F., & Bown, O. H. (1975). Becoming a teacher. In K. Ryan (ed.), Teacher Education. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 25–52. Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in a text-based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 2(2-3), 1-19 Gerber, M., Grund, S., & Grote, G. (2008). Distributed collaboration activities in a blended learning scenario and the effects on learning performance. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 24, 232–244. Gibbs, G. (1988). Learning by Doing: A guide to teaching and learning methods. Birmingham: SCED. Im, Y., & Lee, O. (2004). Pedagogical implications of online discussion for perservice teacher training. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 36(2), 155-170. Jiang, A. & Ting, E. (2000). A study of factors influencing students’ perceived learning in an web-based course environment. International Journal of Educational Telecommunications 6, 317–338. Kim, H.N, (2008). The phenomenon of blogs and theoretical model of blog use in educational context. Computers & Education, 51, 1342-1352. Luor, T., Wu, L., Lu, H., & Tao, Y. (2010). The effect of emoticons in simplex and complex task-oriented communication: An empirical study of instant messaging. Computers in Human Behavior, 26(5), 889-895. Rossman, M. (1999). Successful online teaching using an asynchronous learner discussion forum. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks 3. Savahl, S., September, R., Odendaal, W., & Moos, A. (2008). Information and communication technology: a descriptive study of children’s communication patterns. South African Journal of Psychology 38, 515-525. Schilling, J. (2006) On the pragmatics of qualitative assessments. Designing the process for content analysis, European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 22(1), 28–37. Tu, C.-H. & McIsaac, M. (2002). The Realtionship of Social Presence and Interaction in Online Classes. The American Journal of Distance Education, 16(3), 131-150. Wheeler, S., & Lambert-Heggs, W. (2009). Connecting distance learners and their mentors using blog, The Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 10:4, 323–331 Wopereis, I. G. J. H., Sloep, P. B., & Poortman, S. H. (2010). Weblogs as instruments for reflection on action in teacher education, Interactive Learning Environments, 18:3, 245-261. Yeh, Y.-C., (2010). Analyzing online behaviors, roles, and learning communities via online discussions. Educational Technology & Society, 13(1), 140-151.
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