A quantitative multimodal discourse analysis of teaching and learning in a web-conferencing environment - The efficacy of student-centred learning designs

Matt Bower*, John G. Hedberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

37 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


This paper presents a quantitative approach to multimodal discourse analysis for analyzing online collaborative learning. The coding framework draws together the fields of systemic functional linguistics and Activity Theory to analyze interactions between collaborative-, content- and technology-related discourse. The approach is used to examine how the task subject matter, the activity design, and the choice of interface affected interaction and collaboration for a computing course conducted in a web-conferencing environment. The analysis revealed the critical impact of activity design on the amount and type of discourse that transpired. Student-centred designs resulted in over six times more student discourse as compared to teacher-centred designs and created a learning environment where students took greater ownership over the tasks and contributed more to the content-based discussion. The paper also incorporates a rationale for the approach to coding and a reflection on its efficacy for discourse analysis in technology-based learning environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)462-478
Number of pages17
JournalComputers and Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010


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