The Effectiveness of Web Conferencing Technology in Student-Teacher Conferencing in the Writing Classroom: A Study of First-Year Student Writers
In the past few years, composition theorists have become increasingly interested in the role of computers in the first-year writing classroom. This explorative, case study investigates the use of Web conferencing software as a medium for student-teacher writing conferences. Using qualitative methodology, this researcher conducted out-of-class Web conferences with three first-year writing students about their performance on the first major writing project of the spring 2006 semester. The researcher was also the students? English 101 instructor. Following the Web conferences, the researcher used in depth interviewing techniques to discuss the students? experiences. Data from the recorded Web conferences and transcripts of the post-conference interviews were analyzed to determine answers to the following two research questions: What benefits and challenges do students and teachers find with online Web conferencing and how do these benefits and challenges affect the cyber replication of a face-to-face conference? The results of this study indicate that it is possible to replicate a face-to-face student-teacher conference through Web conferencing technologies. Some of the benefits of Web conferencing include (but are not limited to) the constant availability for students and instructors to have conferences (outside of the traditional business hours that most university buildings are available) and the ability to have an oral discussion in place of a text-based discussion, where it is often difficult for instructors to encapsulate their overall response. Additionally, this study investigates some of the challenges to Web conferencing, such as the lack of a physical presence of the two participants and the inability to conduct global writing revisions due to the lack of screen space available on the computer monitor. Finally, this study has important implications for conferencing in the first-year writing classroom and opens the door for future Web conferencing studies to be conducted on a larger scale with different population samples.
Advisor:Dr. Deanna Dannels; Dr. Chris Anson; Dr. David Rieder
School:North Carolina State University
School Location:USA - North Carolina
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication:04/28/2006