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Writing power into online discussion

Computers and Composition Volume 23, Number 1 ISSN 8755-4615 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


This article considers the way in which control of interaction emerges as a function of personal agency and external factors in a group of students engaged in online asynchronous text-based communication in a distance education program. It is structured around the argument that control is partly related to the power that individuals have to give effect to their wishes, but also acknowledges that this sense of agency is always in relation to the powers of others and more structural constraints. A picture emerges of the choices students make in deciding when to initiate discussion and respond to others, and about decisions concerning whose messages they would read and when. The impact of other students, of online groups, and instructors seems to play an important role in determining how participants participate in online interaction. Consideration of broader issues shows how the context in which students engage in interaction impacts the nature and extent of that interaction. The article concludes that being aware, and taking advantage of the socially grounded nature of online interaction provides the basis from which educators can act to ensure that interaction in online learning communities is enabling for the learning of all students.


Anderson, B. Writing power into online discussion. Computers and Composition, 23(1), 108-124. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved July 16, 2019 from .

This record was imported from Computers and Composition on January 29, 2019. Computers and Composition is a publication of Elsevier.

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