Moderators HomePage

Resources for Moderators and Facilitators of Online Discussion

mauri collins and Zane L. Berge

Berge Collins Associates

This page is a growing set of resources for moderators and moderators-to-be of online discussion in both academic and non-academic settings. Where possible I have linked to the full text of articles, and provided abstracts on this page. As this is part of my dissertation research, I would very much appreciate your suggestions for additions to these listings. The topics of “computer conferencing” and on-line teaching are closely allied, so I am including references in those fields, too.

These pages have been designed to be accessible with a text browser and with the assumption that the papers will be scanned on screen and then printed out.

Do not be put off by early copyright dates (1993-1997) on articles written by Berge and Collins. These articles deal with the principles involved in computer conferencing – independent of software and platform – except where the LISTSERV® software is referred to. While the face of the Internet has changed significantly, the principals that govern excellence in online discussion have not.

Please send your questions or suggestions for new resources to

This page was featured in the On Line column in the Chronicle of Higher Education, September 19, 1997, Page A29.


Bibliographies CMC
and the Online Classroom and Wired Together: CMC in K12
Conferencing using Lists
mediated communication
and Thesis Online
Editorial Policies
Discussion Groups
and Managing email based discussion lists
Conferencing for Professional Development

Starting and Managing email-based discussion lists

The LISTPROC homepage
CREN’s listprocessor software…find the docs and guides
The LISTSERV® homepage
L-Soft’s homepage…find the docs and guides for LISTSERV® list owners and users. Please note that LISTSERV® is a registered trade mark of L-Soft International, Inc. and is not used on this site as a generic term for electronic mailing
list distribiution software
The Majordomo homepage
Berge, Zane L. and Mauri Collins
So you want to set up a LISTSERV® discussion group?

Helpful hints from the Moderators of IPCT-L
Practical tips and suggestions for setting up a list. There are a lot of decisions to be made and this article poses a series of questions to help you make them, starting with “Do I really want to do this?”
Berge, Zane L. and mauri collins
The Founding and Managing of IPCT-L: A Listowners’ Perspective

While there are many reasons for starting a scholarly discussion group, this article focuses, from a listowner’s perspective, on the reasons for founding the Interpersonal Computing and Technology List, (IPCT-L). The authors share some of the decisions that needed to be made before going online, how this list was marketed, the role of the moderator and some of the benefits obtained through the creation of the IPCT-L Editorial Policy.
Covi, Lisa M. (1991)
Quinn, Robert E. and Peter M. Weiss
The Establishment, Care and Feeding of a LISTSERV® List

The growth of the Internet has brought with it a parallel growth in electronic mail (e-mail). One of the most popular pieces of software available to manage e-mail and group discussion lists is known as LISTSERV®. Many individuals are finding the use of LISTSERV® as an excellent means to promote group communication and interaction. This article offers some guidelines and suggestions to those who are contemplating ownership of a LISTSERV® list.
Rauch, Peter (1996)
Three useful documents for new Listowners
Rojo, Alejandra, (1995)
Electronic forums for Users and Researchers
Review:Participation in scholarly electronic forums

Rojo, Alejandra, (1995)

Electronic forums : Frequently Asked Questions 

  • How to select a forum: mailing
    lists, newsgroups, Web forums.
  • How to join/stop membership:
    in mailing lists, in newsgroups, in Web forums
  • How to post a message: to
    mailing lists, to newsgroups, to Web forums
  • How to search the forums for
    messages on specific topics: in mailing lists, in newsgroups, in Web-based
  • Other instructions
  • The Net user guidelines and
    netiquette by A. Rinaldi
  • How to set up an electronic
    forum: a mailing list, a newsgroup,, a Web forum
  • Help and resources for moderators/managers/listowners
  • For more information on: mailing
    lists see EARN (European Academic Research Network) LISTSERV® manual
    and majordomo manual ; on newsgroups see DejaNews web site; on Web-based
    forums see Conferencing on the Web by David R. Wooley
    or HyperNews information .
  • Mailing lists WWW Gateway
    is a a program that assists you in executing mailing list commands through
    a user-friendly interface.
– updated every 24 hours.
The complete reference to LISTSERV®
discussion groups
Wild, Martyn (1999)
The Anatomy of Practice in the Use of Mailing Lists: A Case Study Australian Journal of Educational Technology, (15)2 pp.227-235

This paper reports the main findings from a study of two mailing lists or listservs: Oz-Teachers and UK-Schools[1], used by teachers in Australia and the United Kingdom to communicate electronically with each other. Typically, communications were characterised by text messages that posed questions or offered answers; by ‘threads’ of discussion based around single or combined themes; and by statements of information. The content of these messages was almost always either technical or educational, the former centred on hardware or software issues; the latter on concerns with the use of technologies in teaching and learning.

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Computer Conferencing for Professional Development

Anderson Terry and Kanuka, Heather.(1997). 

On-Line Forums:
New Platforms for Professional Development and Group Collaboration.
Journal of Computer-mediated Communication 3 (3) December.



This study evaluated the output, level of participation and perceptions of effectiveness and value among participants
in a virtual forum. Twenty-three experts in the field of adult education and
community development were invited to participate in a three-week interactive
session using a WWW-based, asynchronous computer conferencing system. Data
gathered through surveys, interviews, transcript analysis and on-line discussion
revealed that this technology has relative advantage for organizers and sponsors,
but is perceived by most users as being less satisfying than face-to-face
interaction. The on-line forum was found to be observable, trialable and relatively
easy to use (compared with existing tools), indicating that this innovation
has potential to become a widespread medium for continuing professional education.

On Moderating
Berge, Zane L. (1992)
The Role of the Moderator in Scholarly Discussion Groups (SDGs)

This is a presentation by Zane L. Berge made on the IPCT-L discussion list and the ensuing discussion taken from the following IPCT-L logs, archived at IPCT LOG9210D, IPCT LOG9210E, IPCT LOG9212B
Berge, Zane L. (1996)
The Role of the Online Instructor/Facilitator

This article lists the roles and functions of the online instructor/facilitator in computer conferencing.
Berge, Zane L. & Collins, Mauri P. (2000)
Perceptions of e-moderators about their roles and functions in moderating electronic mailing lists. Distance Education: An International Journal, 21(1), 81-100.

This is a pre-publication draft.
Reported here are responses gathered using a probabilistic survey (n=162).
Indications of what this group of electronic mailing list moderators, or emoderators, perceive about their roles, tasks, and responsibilities as list moderators.
The issues explored revolve around mailing list moderators’ conceptions of their roles, their rationale for moderating or not moderating their mailing lists, where they learned their craft, and where moderating lists fits into the context of their lives. With such descriptions of the tasks and roles of practicing moderators, better training could be developed for those persons wishing to function effectively as on-line discussion facilitators and moderators, as part of their on-line teaching for instance. Findings confirmed previous research that moderators perceive among their roles those of a filter, firefighter, facilitator, editor, manager, discussion leader, content expert, helper, and
marketer. The moderators responding to this survey cited as reasons a mailing list should be moderated as keeping the signal-to-noise ratio high; keeping the discussion focused within the topic of the list’s mission; keeping down “flames;” and digesting/editing posts. Most learned to moderate online discussion lists by watching others perform those functions–rather like apprentices, and either volunteered to be a list moderator, were invited to be, or started their own lists. They report being involved in list moderation because the list is work related, or is part of their leisure activity, or is part of both.

Collins, Mauri P. & Berge, Zane L. (1997)
Moderating Online Electronic Discussion Groups
1997 AERA Conference Presentation

This research is a pilot study to begin a comprehensive study of electronic discussion group (EDG) moderators and their perceptions of their roles, tasks, and responsibilities. The questions explored revolve around EDG moderators’ conceptions of their roles, their rationale for moderating or not moderating discussion on their mailing lists, where they learned their craft, and where moderating lists fits within the context of their lives. With such descriptions of the tasks and roles of practicing EDG moderators, better training could be developed for those teachers wishing to function effectively as on-line discussion facilitators and moderators as part of their on-line teaching. Findings included indicators of the roles of moderators acting a different times and for different lists as a filter, firefighter, facilitator, administrator, editor, promoter, expert, helper, participant, and marketer. The moderators responding to this survey cited reasons an EDG should be moderated as keeping the signal-to-noise ration high; keeping the discussion focused within the topic of the lists mission; keeping down “flames;” and digesting/editing posts. Most learned to moderate by watching others perform those functions–rather like apprentices, and either volunteered to be a list moderator, were invited to be, or started their own lists. They cited the reasons they moderate as including being work related, part of their leisure activity or both work and leisure activity.
Green, Lyndsay (1998)
Conferencing: Lessons Learned

This guide summarizes lessons learned during the organization and moderation of five online conferences, three of them sponsored by the Office of Learning Technologies, Human Resources Department, Canada. The focus of this report is on non-pedagogical conferences which differ in many respectrs from online classrooms, especially in the motivation of the participants. (Archived with permission)
This file is in Adobe .pdf format. Download the free Adobe Reader
Green Lyndsay (1998)
Playing Croquet with Flamingos: A Guide to Moderating Online Conferences.

A guide for moderators of web-based, synchronous or asynchronous, non-pedagogical conferences. The guide was prepared for the Office of Learning Technologies, Human Resources Department, Canada and is archived here with permission.
This file is in Adobe .pdf format. Download the free Adobe Reader
Hiemstra, Roger (1992) Computerized Distance Education: The Role for Facilitators
Many adults are constrained in their study efforts by various work, family, or social obligations that limit their abilities to be successful in traditional educational settings.  

Computer mediated conferencing (CMC) is a promising approach for non-traditional, distance learning. A growing body of scholarship indicates that the approach is a suitable means for educational delivery, but several questions remain regarding appropriate facilitator role, training requirements for those who use the approach, and associated instructional limitations. This article provides a rationale for using CMC, describes how CMC has been used, provides information on instructional implications, and suggests some future research needs.

L-Soft International, Inc. (1997)Moderating and Editing Lists Chapter 6 of the List Owner’s Manual for LISTSERV®, version
This chapter includes the following sections:  

6.1. List charters, welcome files, and administrative updates

6.2. The role of the list owner as moderator

6.3. The role of the list owner as editor

6.4. Setting up an edited list

6.5. Submitting subscriber contributions to an edited list

6.6. Message approval with Send=Editor,Hold

6.7. Using list topics

6.8. The listname WELCOME and listname FAREWELL files

6.8.1. Creating and storing listname WELCOME and FAREWELL files

6.8.2. Using the listname WELCOME file as a moderation tool

6.8.3. Using the listname FAREWELL file as a feedback tool

6.8.4. The alternative to using WELCOME and FAREWELL files

6.9. Social conventions (netiquette)

6.10. Spamming: what it is, and what to do about it

6.11. Appropriate use policies: considerations

Morris, Merrill (1993)
E-mail editors: Gatekeepers or facilitators?


This exploratory study attempts to identify editing values and standards of a new mass medium, computer discussion groups known as Usenet newsgroups. Are these editors adopting the values and standards of established journalistic media in making editorial decisions, or is the medium of computers changing the way they make editorial decisions? Moderators, or editors, of Usenet newsgroups were surveyed to find answer to these questions. This paper will conclude that while computer newsgroup editors share some of the same kinds of news values as professional editors, the nature of the medium itself has already shaped the editing process. To understand where that process is headed requires a turn from traditional mass communication theories about gatekeeping to theories of group decision-making.
Paulsen, Morten Flate (1995)
Moderating Educational Computer Conferences

Paulsen discusses the moderator’s various roles (organizational, social and intellectual) in terms of their own preferred pedagogical style, philosophical orientation, the moderator’s sense of their role, and their preferred facilitation techniques.
Paulsen, Morten Flate (1995)
The Online Report on Pedagogical Techniques for Computer-Mediated Communication

This is Morten Paulsen’s shareware report published as a result of his work as first speaker at the ICDE-95 On-line World Conference in distance education. It is approximately 75 printed pages long and contains an exhausitive listing of online teaching techniques.
Reingold, Howard The Art of Hosting Good Conversation
Tips from a master of online communication.
Rohfeld, Rae Wahl & Hiemstra, Roger (1995)
Moderating Discussions in the Electronic

Those involved in facilitating or moderating computer conferences face a number of special challenges that are usually not present in more traditional settings, where collaborative learning is often absent. Such challenges center around encouraging learner
participation and maintaining viable discussions during the “electronic classroom.” Rohfeld and Hiemstra discuss both the challenges and suggest ways of overcoming them.

Salmon, Gilly & Giles, Ken (October1997)
Moderating Online

Presented to the Online Educa, Berlin. There is a long history in the Open University and the Open University Business School of a broadly social constructivist approach to distance education,
with an emphasis on a facilitative pedagogical style and the encouragement of dialogue between tutor and student, albeit at a distance. This paper explores the implications of such an approach in the context of the incorporation of the new Information & Communication Technologies and specifically Computer Mediated Conferencing into the distance learning media mix. To what extent will teachers in distance education be readily able to carry over their accustomed approaches into a new setting and to what extent will they need to change?
What support is needed to help them to translate good tutoring into good computer conference moderating? Illustration is provided from work in which the authors have been involved to translate good tutoring into the new context.

Community Building Resources from The WELL

A series of excellent resources from the first online community, including articles on hosting and on the building of virtual community.
Winograd, David (2000) 

Guidelines for Moderating Online Educational
Computer Conferences


These guidelines, used here with kind permission of Dr. Winograd,
grew out of his dissertation research. He provides a very practical guide
for both novice and experience faculty in the nuts and bolts of preparations
for, and the conduct of/ effective discussion in the online classroom.

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Scholarly Discussion Groups

Berge, Zane L. (1994) 

Electronic Discussion Groups












Electronic discussion groups are
playing an increasing role within the information culture. Electronic discussion
groups (DG) often serve as powerful tools in the retrieval and exchanging
of information, bringing together persons with similar interests regardless
of geographic distance or the time constraints dictated by face-to-face meetings.
The focus of this article is to characterize global, electronic DGs. Secondly,
the article offers some helpful tips for those new to using LISTSERV®lists
and Usenet News.
Berge, Zane L. and Mauri P. Collins.

Computer Mediated Scholarly Discussion Groups. Computers in Education. 24(1):












Rojo, Alejandro. (1995) 

Participation in Scholarly
Electronic Forums
A University of Toronto Ph.D. Thesis.












This study addresses the issue
of participation in discussion groups conducted through electronic mail
using a mail distribution program. It is concerned with those electronic
groups with an academic or professional content and open to anyone–scholarly
electronic forums (SEFs). How do participants become members of these forums?
What are their purposes in participating? What are users’ levels of involvement
in these forums? What influences people to contribute messages to these

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Sample Editorial Policies for Discussion Lists

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Reid, Alex. (16-Nov-1994)

Oxford University’s
Code of Conduct for e-mail ettiquette

Rinaldo, Arlene H.(1994)

The Net Users Guidelines
and Netiquette

The formulation of this guide
was motivated by a need to develop guidelines for all Internet protocols to
ensure that users at Florida Atlantic University realize the Internet capabilities
as a resource available, with the provision that they are responsible in how
they access or transmit information through the Internet (The Net).

Emily Postnews Answers Your Questions on Netiquette












“This is intended to be satirical.
If you do not recognize it as such, consult a doctor or professional comedian.
The recommendations in this article should recognized for what they are —
admonitions about what NOT to do”

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On Computer Conferencing
using Lists


Anderson, Terry (1996) 

Virtual Conferences: Extending Professional Education in Cyber-Space












This paper was presented at the
CADE conference and discusses large scale, short term conferences like those
Terry has managed, especially the one in conjuction with the ICDE ’95 conference.
Paper also gives recommendations to those considering similar efforts.

Berge, Ola. (1996) 

Learning Internet on
the Internet: Collaborative Learning in an Unpaced Course.












The purpose of this study is to
explore the potential of distribution lists for supprt of collaborative learning
activities in an unpaced distance education course at the NKI Electronic College
of Computer Science. This study indicates that the introduction of distribution
lists is not sufficient if one is to untilize the full potential of collaborative
learning in distance education.
Berge, Zane L. and Mauri P. Collins

Computer Conferencing and Online Education

This article proposes a model
for viewing computer conferencing within a communications framework. It supplies
an overview of how CC is similar to, and yet different from other channels
of communication. The capabilities of CC such as synchronous and asynchronous
communications and archiving are described. Benefits of CC, such as professional
growth, information processing, independence of time and distance are discussed,
as are the limitations of the media. Those features most significant to educational
uses (i.e., text-based with features of face-to-face communication; promoting
student-student and student-instructor interactions) are explained.
Collins, Mauri P. (1996) 

Pedagogical Uses of Computer Conferencing
for Adult Learners













Outline for a “Faculty Instructional
Innovatation Fair” presentation made at Northern Arizona University,
October 10, 1996. Presentation featured a short introducion to computer conferencing
as an acitivity (as opposed to a software package> and discussed the changing
roles of faculty, students and institutions as computer conferencing is implemented.

Collins, Mauri P (1992) 

Flaming: The Relationship Between Social Context
Cues and Uninhibited Verbal Behavior in Computer-mediated Communication












One phenomenon occurring in computer-mediated
communication is the appearance of uninhibited verbal behavior. It appears
that the level of uninhibited verbal behavior indulged in by those communicating
via computer-mediated communication is a function of the absence of social
context cues. I will first briefly examine social context cues as they effect
communication content. These include both verbal, non-verbal and situational
cues. Then I will review the literature on uninhibited verbal behavior (often
called ‘flaming’) in computer-mediated communication, to determine if there
is support for the hypothesis that it is the lack of contextual cues that
allows the phenomenon to occur, and if so, how researchers have explained
the connection between the absence of social context cues and the occurrence
of uninhibited verbal behavior.
Collins, Mauri P. & Zane L.
Berge (1996)

Facilitating Interaction in Computer Mediated
Online Courses

This as a background information
paper for our presentation at the FSU/AECT Distance Education Conference,
Tallahassee, Fl. June, 1996. The paper opens with a discussion of computer
conferencing, its advantages and disadvantages, talks about synchronous and
asynchronous communication; interaction; and closes with a look at the changing
roles of teachers and students. References and Bibliography.
Collins, Mauri P. & Zane L.
Berge. (1994). 

Guiding Design Principles for Interactive Teleconferencing












Paper presented at the Pathways
to Change: New Directions for Distance Education and Training Conference,
September 29, 30, and October 1, 1994, University of Maine at Augusta.

Delivery of instruction is usually
more effective when more than one medium is used, (Dekkers et. al., 1990).
When considering the various channels of communication for distance educational
purposes, the strengths and limitations of each available channel can be analyzed.
Once that is done, decisions can be made concerning the better channel through
which to present each instructional goal or learning activity. While there
are dozens of factors that may be significant in the choice of media, we will
concentrate here on two dimensions that can be used to characterize various
channels of communication: 1) its synchronous or asynchronous nature, and
2) its potential tofacilitate both social interaction and interaction with
course content. This presentation points to ways that can promote the successful
integration of several communications channels into a more comprehensive and
effective system of delivery for distance education.

Rubin, Eugene (1996) 

The ups and downs of running a LISTSERV®-based
computer conference.












The article was posted to the
IUC96-L Online Conference to explain the workings of the Conference. The Conference
ran for three weeks in April, 1996, covered three aspects of “Course
Development for the World Wide Web” with two expert “Discussants”
each week and over 800 paying participants.
Woolley, D.R. 

Conferencing Software for
the Web


Comprehensive list of web software
for text-based asynchronous group discussion and links to their home sites.
Forum Software – BBS Software – Internet & Intranet Groupware Software for
Virtual Communities – Virtual Teams – Message Boards – Collaborative Workgroups
Wolley, D.R.
PLATO: The Emergence of On-LineCommunity
A history of the Plato Computer
Conferencing system and David R. Woolley’s involvement in it. There are a number of other
excellent articles by David Wooley (although some of them are now somewhat
dated) at

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CMC Book Cover Computer Mediated Communication 

and the Online Classroom

with Zane L. Berge

Overview and Perspectives

Higher Education

Distance Education

The Story of CMCBook

Wired Book Cover Wired Together: Computer Mediated Communication in K-12 

with  Zane L. Berge

Perspectives and Instructional

Case Studies

Teacher Education and Professional

Writing, Reading and Language

These books can be
ordered individually or as series directly from the publisher at 1-800-894-8955
or from Amazon.Com (Author Search:Zane

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On Computer mediated

Jonnson, Ewa (1998) 

On speech and writing on the Internet











The advancement of computer-mediated
language towards the rapidity and nature of spoken language raises the question
whether electronic communication is written or oral discourse. This essay
focuses on how electronic discourse is manifested in two major communication
modes on the Internet – asynchronous and synchronous typing – and how it
relates to traditional notions of written and oral discourse. To substantiate
the discussion, examples from authentic electronic communication are included
and the viewpoint in the study of them is essentially sociolinguistic. The
study also renders an introduction to new terminology that has emerged over
the years of linguistic interaction on the Internet and throws some light
on how the electronic era relates to other periods of human communication.
The conclusion of the study is that electronic discourse is neither writing
nor speech, but rather written speech or spoken writing, or something unique
in the history of human discourse.

Santoro, G. (1995)

What is Computer-Mediated Communication?

in Computer mediated communication and the Online
Classroom. Volume 1 – Overview and Perspectives

Computer-Mediated Communication
(CMC) is the name given to a large set of functions in which computers are
used to support human communication. CMC can be defined narrowly or broadly,
depending on how one defines human communication. At its narrowest, CMC refers
to computer applications for direct human-to-human communication. This includes
electronic mail, group conferencing systems and interactive ‘chat’ systems.
At its broadest, CMC can encompass virtually all computer uses

Feenberg, Andrew. (1989) 

The Written World. In R. Mason &
A. Kaye (Eds.) Mindweave: communication, computers and distance education.
Oxford: Pergamon Press, pp. 22-39. Archived here with the author’s permission.












The author analyses the ‘written
world’ of computer mediated communication (CMC), and stresses the importance
of the roles of the social network designer and conference moderator in initiating
and maintaining group communication processes.

Higgins, R.N. (1991) 

Computer-mediated cooperative
learning: Synchronous and asynchronous communication between students learning
nursing diagnosis.
Doctoral Thesis. Toronto: University of Toronto












Chapter 2: Subsection 2.3.1: Overview of CMC  

Computer-mediated communication
refers to human communication via computer. The emphasis is on interaction
between humans using computers to connect with one another. The computers
may be central repositories for human messages, or they may comprise a network
of links and nodes facilitating the transfer of human messages. Various
modes and media can be combined to facilitate the communication process.

Powers, Susan M., & Karen M. Dutt  

Expanding Class Discussion
Beyond the Classroom Walls

With the advent of electronic
communications, student interaction and discussion can be enhanced. We decided
to try one of these electronic avenues to see if we could develop an electronic
classroom devoted to discussion and interaction. . . .Given the careful managment
and encouragement, electronic discussions can complement current classroom
activities and encourage the growth of your students.

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Online Dissertations
and Thesis

These all deal in some way with Mailing
List-based Discussion Groups and have the full text online.

Peter Murray, 1995 

Nursing the Internet: A Case Study
of Nurses’ Use of the Internet












This case study, with methodology
grounded in Mason’s (1989) thesis and Merriam’s (1988) approach, investigates
the communicative exchanges between nurses using the Nursenet list, within
a particular spatio-temporal context. The study utilises a tripartite frame
of reference, incorporating postmodern/poststructuralist philosophy, a multiple
paradigm view of nursing research, and Fairclough’s (1992) social theory of
discourse. This latter is grounded in Foucault’s work on the socially constructive
nature of discourse and its interrelationship with knowledge and power.

Alejandra Rojo, 1995 

in Scholarly Electronic Forums












This study addresses the issue
of participation in discussion groups conducted through electronic mail using
a mail distribution program. It is concerned with those electronic groups
with an academic or professional content and open to anyone–scholarly electronic
forums (SEFs). How do participants become members of these forums? What are
their purposes in participating? What are users’ levels of involvement in
these forums? What influences people to contribute messages to these forums?

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On Teaching On-line

Berge, Z. L. (1998). 

Concerns of teachers in Higher Education.
Paper presented at the ISTE conference TEL-ED ’98, New Orleans, LA, 29-31
October, 1998.













This article focuses on the concerns
of online teachers. Online instruction is limited here to computer-mediated
online instruction and to courses in which online interaction accounts for
at least 50% of the graded part of the course. Forty-two teachers were surveyed
regarding their perceptions of the most salient barriers to their online teaching.
The central question addressed in this article is to what degree do online
teachers encounter the following perennial problems within education: quality,
change, accountability, productivity, and access.
Berge, Z. L. (1996). 

Example case studies in post-secondary,
on-line teaching.
In G. Hart & J. Mason Proceedings of the The
Virtual University ? Symposium.
Melbourne, Australia, November 21-22,
1996, pp. 99-105.












This paper presents two descriptions
of on-line teachers’ perceptions of their teaching in post-secondary, formal
educational settings. Selected from the 42 cases in a survey the author conducted
in the summer of 1996, these particular cases were chosen because of the contrasts
represented in teaching styles. Teachers responding to this survey used a wide
range of teaching methods-from lecture to student self-assessment. Still, the
teaching styles of most teachers included using discussion, collaboration, and
authentic learning activities as their primary instructional methods. If the
data collected from these 42 teachers can be used to generalise, then on-line
teachers in higher and continuing education create a learning environment that
is characterised as more student-centred than teacher-centred.
Brown, Alisson (1997) 

Designing for Learning: What are the essential
features of an effective online course?
Australian Journal of Educational
Technology, 13(2), pp. 115-126












How do online courses differ from
traditional university courses? What are the new learning demands made on
students in online courses? Which particular design features optimise the
teaching and learning process in an online delivery mode?

These were the questions explored
in a collaborative course design project involving an economics lecturer
and the instructional designer at Murdoch University. Emerging from the
project is the fully online course Economic Thought and Controversy,
together with an instructional design template. This template is now being
applied to other courses in the discipline with the aim of transferring
the whole economics programme to online delivery in 1998.

This paper describes the pedagogical
rationale of the design template.

Berge, Z. L. (in press). 

Characteristics of online teaching in post-secondary,
formal education.













Pre-publication DRAFT. Cite only
with the permission of the author.
This chapter reports the results
of a survey exploring the characteristics of online teaching in formal, post-secondary
settings from the perspective of teachers. The findings of this survey include
that online teachers responding to this survey used a wide range of teaching
methods-from lecture to student self-assessment. The teachers responding to
this survey used discussion, collaboration, and authentic learning activities
as their primary instructional methods, leading to the conclusion that they
create a learning environment that is characterized as more student-centered
than teacher-center.
Mason, Robin (1991) 

Moderating Educational Computer Conferences












This article attempts to build
on the available literature regarding online tutoring by applying the principles
and advice they give, to a particular example of exceptionally good moderating.
Using extracts from a conference showing these general principles in practice,
a model of online teaching can be derived and conclusions can be drawn about
the nature of moderating skills in an educational context.
Muilenburg, Lin & Berge,
Zane L. (2000) 

A Framework for Designing Questions
for Online Learning












The discussion method is one
of the most commonly used pedagogical techniques in the online classroom.
Discussion is widely used because it can promote several types of thinking-and
certain types of thinking especially those characterized as constructivist,
are important in education. Proper attention to the design, facilitation,
and maintenance of an online instructional discussion is critical to promote
students’ constructive thinking. Questioning is a significant instructional
design element for the promotion of effective discussion. This article describes
a theoretical framework for designing questions for starting online discussion
and follow-up questions to maintain the discussion. This framework is placed
within a broader context of discussion within a constructivist, online environment.
Numerous examples of discussion questions which were gathered from experienced
online instructors are presented with the goal of preparing students and
teachers to participate effectively in online discussions.

Murphy, Karen & Collins, Mauri

The Development of Communication
Conventions in Instructional Electronic Chats.












Paper presented at the Annual
Convention of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago. [Online]

The widespread use of computer
conferencing for instructional purposes, both as an adjunct to and a replacement
for the traditional classroom, has encouraged teachers and students alike
to approach teaching and learning in ways that incorporate collaborative learning
and the social construction of knowledge. Discussion and dialog between instructor
and students and among students is a key feature of computer conferencing
and the foundation of constructivist learning techniques. Computer conferencing
can be used both asynchronously, which allows time for reflection between
interactions, and synchronously, allowing real-time, interactive chats or
open sessions among as many participants as are online simultaneously.

This study used content analysis
to first identify the communication conventions and protocols that real-time,
interactive electronic chat users developed in instructional settings. The
study also determined that the students recognized a need to use their communication
conventions and protocols to communicate clearly and minimize misunderstandings
in their online transactions with others. The more obvious conventions included
using keywords and names of individuals, shorthand techniques, non-verbal
cues in text, and asking questions and seeking clarification.

Pitt, Tina Joy and Anne Clark (nd) 

Creating powerful online courses using multiple
instructional strategies.












Online learning can employ any
of the wide variety of strategies discussed here, from email to online data
base and archive searching. Much of the power of learning via the Internet
lies in its capacity to support multiple modes of communication including
“any combination of student-to-student, student-to-faculty, faculty-to-student,
faculty-to faculty, student-to others, others-to students and so forth” (Ellsworth
in Berge & Collins, 1995, p. 31). Taking into account the varied learning
styles of learners and providing opportunities for self-directed and collaborative
learning, educators can facilitate powerful, effective courses geared to achieve
specific learning goals and outcomes using the vast resources and capacities
of computer-mediated online learning.
Rossman, Mark H. (1999) 

online teaching using an asynchronous learner discussion forum












At Capella University online
courses are offered using an asynchronous learner discussion forum. At the
conclusion of each course, learners are requested to complete and electronically
submit a course evaluation form.

A document analysis of more than
3000 course evaluations from 154 courses conducted during the past 11 quarters
was conducted. Each course folder was reviewed. The narrative responses
were ultimately grouped into the following categories: Faculty Feedback,
Learner Discussions and Course Requirements. General observations related
to these categories were presented followed by several tips for successful
teaching in an online environment using an asynchronous learner discussion
forum. The tips were initially generated by the document analysis. Additional
tips were added and the list was revised each quarter following the end-of-quarter
teleconference with the instructors.

Salmon, Gilly K. (1999) 

Reclaiming the territory for the natives.
Presented at “ONLINE LEARNING: Exploiting technology for training”
London 23rd & 24th November 1999












. . . in my view, the productive,
purposeful and integrated use of online learning is still far from common and
where it is attempted, there is mixed responses from stakeholders. Even in geographical
areas where there is large take up of networked technologies from the population,
or small countries with enlightened government policy, such as Finland and Ireland,
the nature of teaching and learning has not yet changed very much. Technology
used in “niche markets” or specialist courses rarely results in widespread,
worthwhile and scalable further use. This suggests that although access to the
tools is, of course, important, it is certainly not the whole story.

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Last update: June 1, 2003


since 5/25/96

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