199 paper

Teaching through technology-enhanced environments in higher education: Moderating for effective computer conferencing

Maria Zenios
Lancaster University

The emergence of the ‘knowledge based society’ places extra pressure on university teachers to develop students’ knowledge and skills. Although focus has shifted from teaching to student centred-based learning it is still useful to investigate university teachers’ approaches to teaching through networked technologies. Previous research indicates that the success of the online activity is influenced by the person who organises and facilitates the discussion (Berge & Collins, 2000). The role of the leader or ‘moderator’ in motivating the participants, channelling the discussion and deliberately handling difficult situations is crucial. The recognition that the moderator’s work makes a great difference to the success of computer conferencing creates a pressing need to research new approaches to teaching online. Located on the socio-cultural framework, this study suggests that the moderator’s role is crucial in sustaining conferences through the structuring of the learning resources inherent in the conferences.

Keywords: online teaching, moderation, computer conferencing, situated learning