"The Power" of the Keyboard in Online Academic Conference

Smadar Bar-Tal*, Michal Schleifer**
* Lecturer, Center for Innovation and Excellence in Teaching, Levinsky College, Israel.
** Former Head, Literacy and Language Arts Division, Center for Educational Technology, Israel.
Periodicity:October - December'2018


Today, conferences for academic communities can provide continuous active participation in lectures through an accompanying academic-professional discussion written into a document known as an Internet 'chat'. In this environment, participants are invited to react, ask questions, contribute knowledge and form a learning community. Our pioneer study investigates the character of a chat accompanying an online academic seminar. The aims of the written chat in this study were to create a digital environment which provides technical and social support, encourages intimate dialog among the participants, and might even serve as a kind of a new networking for a professional community composed by the participants and others. Qualitative data-collection of 827 speaking turns produced by 87 out of 283 seminar participants were analyzed using Anderson and Archer's characteristics of teaching, cognitive, and social presences (Garrison, Anderson & Archer, 2000). Findings revealed different presences representing the participants' different perceptions concerning their roles in the chat. Thus, the chat's environment provided technical, cognitive, and social support. Unfortunately, the attempt to create a new networking for further learning was not achieved. Practical proposals are suggested for effective management of online conference chats, pointing up the need to foster essential skills for participants and moderators, so that they can conduct an effective chat that stimulate learning and contains balanced presences.


Digital Conference, Internet or Online Chat, Moderator, Presences, Networking

How to Cite this Article?

Bar-Tal, S., and Schleifer, M. (2018). "The Power" of the Keyboard in Online Academic Conference. i-manager’s Journal of Educational Technology, 15(3), 26-39.


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