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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton June 12, 2012

Toward a broader understanding of social talk in Web-based courses

Linda Reneland-Forsman,
From the journal Text & Talk


The interactive potential of computer-mediated communication has proved more difficult to realize than expected. This study tries to break away from the normative status of speech underlining computer-mediated communication by asking how social talk is manifested in Web-based learning environments. The asynchronous communication of 55 students during a study period of 18 weeks was examined using mediated discourse analysis. The students were training as pre-school teachers in a four-year program. Their ability to create a group culture seemed significant for how they developed group autonomy and were able to handle unexpected incidents or a loose framing. The communication between the students was in narrative format and was lengthy in character; trust and confidence were dropped off as part of a constant construction of group culture. These students did not adopt or develop known means of compensating for the loss of nonverbal clues. There were indications of sharing private concerns and information from other practices in life as a conditional aspect of participation. When having troubles to cope, it was the youngest students who failed.

Published Online: 2012-06-12
Published in Print: 2012-05-17

©[2012] by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston