Computer conferencing and assessment: new ways of writing in higher education

Lea, Mary (2001). Computer conferencing and assessment: new ways of writing in higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 26(2) pp. 163–181.



This article reports upon MA students' use of computer conferencing in an online course, and examines the ways in which students draw upon asynchronous conference discussions in their written assignments. It argues that we can usefully regard these electronic environments as a resource that does more than provide the context for collaborative learning. The technology enables a reflexivity in student learning which has not been possible before, enabling students to benefit from the learning of their peers online and to draw upon this in the construction of their own individual disciplinary knowledge, as explicated in their own written argument. The article explores how computer conferencing can give students the opportunity to rehearse discipline-based debates and then exploit these as rhetorical resources in their written work; students use the voices of their peers in ways traditionally reserved for authoritative published authors. In order to explore the relationship between students' use of computer conferencing and their assessed written work, the article draws upon a variety of theoretical perspectives which are concerned with both texts and practices.

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