A Close Look at Online Collaboration: Conversational Structure in Chat and Its Implications for Group Work

Kris M. Markman (University of Memphis, USA)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 233
EISBN13: 9781609603397|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-863-0.ch011
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This chapter employs a conversation analytic approach to the study of group interaction in synchronous chat. Chat has been used in educational settings as an adjunct to traditional face-to-face classes and as part of distance learning. This case study examines how chat was used for virtual team meetings by specifically focusing on the structural features of chat conversation as they relate to various aspects of online teamwork. Chat conversations are characterized by disrupted turn adjacency and multiple conversational threads, requiring participants to adapt different strategies to maintain coherence. The advantages and disadvantages of using chat for group work are discussed, and suggestions for implementing chat in education settings are presented.
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