Using Qualitative Processes in Computer Technology Research on Online Learning: Lessons in Change from "Teaching as Intentional Learning."

Moss, Connie M.; Shank, Gary
May 2002
Forum: Qualitative Social Research;2002, Vol. 3 Issue 2, p225
Academic Journal
The use of computer mediated interaction systems worldwide has created not only a culture of usage, but also an entirely new mode of social interaction and thought. We argue that computer mediated interaction should be understood as neither oral nor written language, but rather as a post literate technological change of language itself. Following SHANK's (1993) notion of the multilogue as a form of communication, and ONG's (1982) pioneering work on examining orality and literacy in light of emerging understandings toward communication in these more technologically sophisticated times, we propose that systems of computer mediated interactions, especially those used for educational purposes, can only be understood using the combination of the logic and tools of qualitative research along with a semiotic understanding of the process itself. To explore these claims, the article examines computer mediated interaction within an educational online environment known as Teaching as Intentional Learning, or TIL (MOSS, 1998). Extensive use of patterns of data from TIL demonstrates that fundamental qualitative procedures are required to capture critical changes in teacher beliefs over time. These procedures align with notions of post literate communication, and the realization that both the modes of communication and the qualitative procedures used to capture them, are required to understand computer mediated learning and to build better modes for such interactions in the future.


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