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In computer-mediated discourse analysis (CMDA), disrupted turn adjacency has been cited as highly problematic because messages get posted in the order received by the system, regardless of what they are responding to. Multiple posts can respond to one initiating message, and single messages can respond to more than one initiating message (Herring, 1999). Hybrid web tools (e.g., wikis) for social interaction have posed additional challenges to CMDA because authors can go back and manipulate previous content or messages at any point.
This paper identifies problems encountered in analyzing two case studies using Google Sites (a wiki) and Google Wave (a synchronous communication/collaboration tool) in language teacher education. In the first study (2009), four cross-institutional groups of student teachers in the U.S. and Luxembourg, communicated via Google Sites to design ESL/EFL tasks. In the second study (2010), participants at the same US institution used Google Wave to collaborate with students in Taiwan. The goal for both collaborations was for participants to share perspectives about technology implementation in teaching and learning while using technology to work across institutions (model learning, see Hubbard & Levy, 2006; Willis, 2001). Data triangulation involved CMC transcripts, journals, needs analyses, and post-course questionnaires.
Findings show that using wikis as a collaborative, asynchronous writing tool, posed difficulties for all groups. They used the wiki to post meta-level comments about their editing process within the actual project page, while others used the wiki as a discussion forum or blog. Not only does this have implications for learner training in the functional uses of technology tools, the findings also raise important issues for interaction management (Herring, 1999). Google Wave poses further challenges for researchers due to the lack of control over what gets edited when and by whom - especially in the absence of a proper history of revision function.
Herring, S. C. (1999). Interactional coherence in CMC. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 4(4). Retrieved February 20, 2008, from http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol4/issue4/herring.html
Hubbard, P. & Levy, M. (Eds.). (2006). Teacher education in CALL. Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Willis, J. (2001). Foundational assumptions for information technology and teacher education. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 1(3), 305-320.
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