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The Affective Aspect of Moderators Role Conception and Enactment by Teachers in A-Synchronous Learning Discussion Groups Ofra Ben-Ami* / ** & David Mioduser*

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Presentation on theme: "The Affective Aspect of Moderators Role Conception and Enactment by Teachers in A-Synchronous Learning Discussion Groups Ofra Ben-Ami* / ** & David Mioduser*"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Affective Aspect of Moderators Role Conception and Enactment by Teachers in A-Synchronous Learning Discussion Groups Ofra Ben-Ami* / ** & David Mioduser* *Tel-Aviv University, School of Education **Center for Educational Technology, Israel

2 Background ICT is integrated in all education levels in Israel. University professors as well as elementary school teachers are trying on new teaching personae. The paper concentrates on the affective role – the first of the three aspects discussed in the full study.

3 Literature Previous studies describe the affective aspect as setting the moderators tone, and building the atmosphere of on-line class (Coppola et al, 2001; Winograd, 2001; Rossman, 1999). Advantages: more equal and democratic learning environment, more opportunities for shy students, less biased communication (Harasim et al., 1995; Berge, 1997). Difficulties: the need to develop social presence skills, the need to supplement skills that worked in F-T-F communication, the need to address student uncertainty (Tu, 2000; Coppola et al., 2001; Spitzer et al.1994; Kimbel, 1998).

4 Problems Arising from Literature Focus of attention on academic moderators – what applies to elementary school teachers? Experience prior to shift: classroom-discourse experienced by elementary school teachers (Cazden, 1988) – what does it take to build a different type of discourse? Methodology: Insights and recommendations based on self-reported evidence from moderators and students – the need for cross-checking tools (Denzin and Lincoln, 1994).

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7 Methodology and Research Instruments The full research included 2 case-studies, using the ethnographical method. It examined the work of 2 moderators (A and R) separately and comparatively. The socializing stage was analyzed in relation to the affective aspect of the moderator's role. Data analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively: the full computer logs of 8 discussion groups held by A and R; 3 in depth interviews.

8 Research Questions How did A and R carry out the affective aspect of their role, and what interpretation can be given to their interactions with the students during the socializing stage? 1.What characterizes the way A and R presented themselves to the students while getting acquainted with them? 2.What characterizes the way A and R responded to student messages while socializing with them? 3.What characterizes the way A and R viewed themselves during the socializing stage of the on-line discussion, and how can the patterns identified in questions 1 and 2 be interpreted in light of A an Rs conception of themselves? 4.What is similar and what is different in A and Rs performance with regards to the affective aspect of their role during the socializing stage of the discussion forums.

9 Findings Patterns of Self-Presentation in Moderators Messages: as individuals, as teachers, as forum-managers A's repliesR's replies 63.5 % of 1 st type17.65 % of 1 st type 36.5 % of 2 nd type55.3 % of 2 nd type 20 % of 3 rd type41.2 % of 3 rd type

10 Patterns Identified in Moderators Responses to Students Self-Presentations: Encouraging the dialogue with the student Discouraging it Neutral

11 Table 1: Patterns of encouragement and discouragement in As responses (n=85( Frequency of pattern in As replies (No. & %) Pattern characterization PatternNo. of pattern 43 (50.6%)Encouragement Asking questions of interest 1 41 (48.2%)Encouragement Reassuring, agreeing or identifying with students comments 2 38 (44.7%)Encouragement Detailed response to students 3 38 (44.7%)Encouragement Compliments 4 16 (18.8%)Encouragement Amused and humoristic responses 5 10 (11.8%)Neutral Standard greeting 6 10 (11.8%)Encouragement Lengthy response to short messages 7 9 (10.6%)Neutral Softened reservation 8 2 (2.4%)Discouragement Reservation 9

12 Table 2: Patterns of encouragement and discouragement in Bs responses (n=85( Frequency of pattern in As replies (No. & %) Pattern characterization PatternNo. of pattern 32 (37.7%)Discouragement Managerial response 1 23 (27.1%)Encouragement Reassuring, agreeing or identifying with students comments 2 10 (11.8%)Encouragement Compliments 3 10 (11.8%)Encouragement Reflecting students ideas 4 11 (12.9%)Encouragement Asking questions of interest 5 6 (7.1%)Discouragement Reservation 6 6 (7.1%)Neutral Softened Reservation 7 5 (5.9%)Discouragement Reprimanding 8 5 (5.9%)Neutral Standard greeting 9

13 Discussion A was concerned with establishing relationships, B was preoccupied with establishing control. Socializing with students on-line led both teachers to try on a different persona. Both preferred their persona as a real teacher, perceiving it to be more powerful and more capable of connecting to students. Both felt less in control of the teaching situation.

14 Conclusions and Recommandations It is necessary to identify and differences between Tech- Mediated and FTF learning environments, and clarify the unique advantages each one holds for students and teachers alike, so that teachers can operate confidently in both learning environments. Further research should put emphasis on students' perceptions as well. A prolonged study of teachers shift to moderating is needed for developing helpful feedback that while on task. The value of textual analysis cannot be overrated. It tells us a story that exceeds wishful thinking often attached to innovative technological tools.

15 Bibliography Berge, Z. L. (1997). "Computer Conferencing and the On-Line Classroom". International Journal of Educational Telecommunications. 3(1), Cazden, C. B. (1988). Classroom Discourse: The language of Teaching and Learning. NH: Heinemann Portsmouth. Coats, J. (1993). Women, Men and Language - A Sociolinguistic Account of Gender Differences in Language. London: Longman. Coppola, N. W., Hiltz, S. R. and Rotter, N. (2001). Becoming a Virtual Professor: Pedagogical Roles and ALN, Proceedings of the Hawaii International Conference of System Sciences, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. Available at: Guba, E. G. and Lincoln Y. S. (1981). Effective Evaluation. San Francisco, Cal.: Jossey-Bass.

16 Coats, J. (1993). Women, Men and Language - A Sociolinguistic Account of Gender Differences in Language. London: Longman. Ferris, S.P. (1996). Women On-Line: Cultural and Relational Aspects of Womens Communication, On-Line Discussion Groups, Interpersonal Computing and Technology: An Electronic Journal for the 21 st Century, 4 (3-4), Funaro, G. M. and Montell F. (1999). Pedagogical Roles and Implementation Guidelines for Online Communication Tools, ALN Magazine, 3 (2). Available at:http://www.aln.org/publications/magazine/v3n2/funaro.asphttp://www.aln.org/publications/magazine/v3n2/funaro.asp Goffman, E. (1981). Forms of Talk. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. Harasim L., Hiltz S. R., Teles L. and Turoff, M. (1995). Learning Networks - A Field Guide to Teaching and Learning Online. Cambridge, Ma: The MIT Press. Herring, S. C. (1996). Bringing Familiar Baggage to the New Frontier: Gender Differences in Computer-Mediated Communication. In V. Vitanza (Ed.), Cyber- Reader. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, Online: Keynote talk (1994), American Library Association:

17 Kimbel, L. (1998). Managing Distance Learning - New Challenges for Faculty.Available at: Mioduser, D. and Nahmias, R. (2002). WWW in Education: An Overview. In A. B. Collis and M. Pawlowsky (Eds.), Handbook on Information Technologies for Education & Training. Berlin/Heidelberg/New York: Springer, pp Rheingold, H. (1998). The Art of Hosting Good Conversations Online. Available at: Rossman, M. H. (1999). Successful Online Teaching Using an Asynchronous Learner Discussion Forum. JALN 3 (2) Available at: Spitzer, W., Wedding, K. and DiMauro, V. (1994). Fostering Reflective Dialogues for Teacher Professional Development. Available at:http://www.terc.edu/papers/labnet/Guide/Fostering_Refl_Dialogues.htmlhttp://www.terc.edu/papers/labnet/Guide/Fostering_Refl_Dialogues.html

18 Tu, C. H. (2000). Critical Examination of Factors Affecting Interaction on CMC, Journal of Network and Computer Applications (23) Available at:http://www.idealibrary.comhttp://www.idealibrary.com Winograd, D. (2001) Guidelines to Moderating Online Educational Computer Conferences. Available at:


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