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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Inside on-line : interaction and community in graduate students’ use of computer-mediated communication Potts, Diane


A qualitative investigation into language education students' use of computer-mediated communication, this study reveals how the diversity, support and resources constructed through students on-line dialogue served to scaffold students' language and content learning. The study focuses on student interaction on an asynchronous bulletin board used as an adjunct to a graduate seminar. The radicals of persistent conversation (Bregman & Haythornthwaite, 2001) interacted with elements of the seminar design to facilitate non-native speakers' entry into the dialogue, while simultaneously affording all students with opportunities for exercising agency in their own learning. Relationships between native and nonnative speakers of English were altered by nonnative speakers' ability to communicate their competence, and participants developed a strong identity as a community. Diversity and community evolved as valuable contributors to individual learning.

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