Main points that I noted from the paper:
- Anecdotal evidence emerged of strong ties forming even in such a short term CoP. This matches my observations from the LE
- Several discourse analysis models were examined and Gunawardena et al's model was chosen. That said, results showed that the model 'used alone, would not capture the full measure of messages posted' and the open ended and free-form dialogue observed in the CoP 'is less readily analysed by frameworks based upon goal orientated debate style interactions' (p.7).
- Using several researchers to code data can lead to discrepancies in the way the data is coded, so called 'inter-rater reliability'. I won't have this problem!
- The study of the dialogue in the forums misses the private chats and discussions that take place outside of the environment, yet the results show that such discussions are often referred to in the dialogue by the participants
- The level of interaction by the participants gradually increased from the lower range, identified by Gunawardena et al, to the medium to high range. Yet the workshop leader's presence remained high (significant teaching presence). The proportion of participants playing the various roles (thought leader, mentor, facilitator, etc) remained largely constant despite the increase in the level of the dialogue
- The follow-up survey of participants suggested that where there was more interaction there were triggers for more-in depth conversations and higher learning
- The paper encourages further research in the analysis of discourse in online CoP, especially with larger samples. Good motivation to continue ....
Gunawardena, C., Lowe, C. & Anderson, T. (1997) 'Analysis of a global online debate and the development of an interaction analysis model for examining social construction of knowledge in computer conferencing'. Journal of educational computing research, 17 (4)
Rourke, L., Anderson, T., Garrison, D. & Archer, W. (2001) 'Methodological issues in the content analysis of computer conference transcripts', International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education (IJAIED), 12, pp.8-22. (ONLINE - http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00197319/ - accessed 18.07.2010)
Thomson, R., Reeves-Lipscombe, D., Stuckey, B. & Mentis, M. (2009) 'Discourse Analysis and Role Adoption in a Community of Practice'. (ONLINE - http://cpsquare.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/stuckey-etal-aera-discourse_analysis.pdf - accessed 11.07.2010)