Adaptation and application of a transcript analysis tool to analyze a computer-mediated communication (CMC) distance education course transcript.
Traditionally, individuals engaged in correspondence course study were isolated in that they had no venue to communicate with fellow students. They used the telephone if and when they needed assistance from the instructor. Computer-mediated communication (CMC) has changed distance education study. Students are now engaged in computer conferences as part of the course requirements. The students are now able to interact with fellow students and the instructor. Most computer systems have the capability of producing a transcript of these interactions. The transcript becomes a valuable resource in charting patterns of interaction within the course conference(s). This study utilized a content analysis research design to determine the patterns of interaction in one computer-mediated conference from a graduate-level distance education university course. The Computer Mediated Communication Transcript Analysis Tool (CMC TAT) was used to conduct the content analysis. The CMC TAT has four categories: Questioning, Statements and Supports, Reflecting, and Scaffolding. Sixteen subjects (fifteen students and the instructor) in one graduate -level distance education course agreed that their postings to this course conference could be analyzed but not quoted. Summaries of the coding sessions using the CMC TAT are presented and the coding disagreements are outlined. Additional tables summarize the postings of each subject in the research study. Limitations of the study are described and further research questions are suggested.