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BALDWIN, BETH W., Ph.D. Conversations: Computer Mediated Dialogue, Multilogue, and Learning. (1996). Directed by Dr. Hephzibah Roskelly. 232pp.

The purpose of this [text] is to argue in favor of a "pedagogy of textual conversation," a pedagogy made possible in large part by electronic technology, by computer mediated communication. Informing the argument is a deep philosophical commitment to conversation itself as the primary mode of meaning-making in both social and personal life. Material presented in support of the main argument is drawn from current and past pedagogical and communications theory as well as from ethnographic research conducted in the fall semester of 1994 in which students in an English composition class were linked to students in an education class via a single VAX electronic conference. Actual experiences in the electronic medium are forwarded to suggest that those who engage in extensive textual conversation with one another benefit from improved rhetorical skills, understanding of course content, the ability to make connections between ideas, and a liberalization of ideological views.

But this [book] is not meant only to argue this issue in a classical or academically authorized sense, i.e., as a monological exercise of logic and reason with its inevitable linear development and closure. It is meant also to enact a conversational model. Thus it is a hybrid form of writing, a fugue-like composition which, like its musical counterpart is a polyphonic (multi-vocal) composition based upon several related, but different themes enunciated by several voices or parts in turn, subjected to contrapuntal treatment, and which gradually builds up into a complex form having distinct divisions or stages marked at the end by an open-ended climax rather than a conclusion. In other words, the work as a whole is in great part the subject of itself.

RhetNet home | Baldwin: Conversations Index
Prologue | Pedagogy | Technology & Conversation
Theorizing Self & Other | Learning & Writing
Validity & Interactivity | Postlude

since 09 June 1996