Understanding private discourse in a public online forum
Clare Brett & Jim Hewitt
Private communications (i.e. individual, unpublished communications as well as one-to-one and small group communications) within areas of public discourse may provide opportunities for particular kinds of social or cognitive moves and activities that are supported differently, or perhaps not supported, by entirely public online spaces. Through analysis of conference entries from 5 graduate level online courses, and with follow up interviews with faculty and students, we outline the various social and pedagogical uses that faculty and students made of this functionality, and suggest how such activities may support community knowledge building.
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