Despite the importance of the non-task interactions in computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) environments as emphasized in the literature, few studies have investigated online behavior of people in the CSCL environments. This paper studies the pattern of non-task interactions among postgraduate students in an Australian university. The CSCL environment in this study includes separate online spaces called the Seminar Room and the Coffee Shop for pedagogical and non-pedagogical activities, respectively. The Transcript Analysis Tool (TAT) was used to code discussions in the above two rooms for three online courses. The findings indicate the presence of substantial number of non-task interactions among students in both the Seminar Rooms and the Coffee Shops. The results also indicate that a great portion of the non-task discussions fall into the categories of Reflections, Referential Statements, Horizontal Questions, and Salutations. Furthermore, the majority of students' non-task interactions occurred during the first few weeks of the semester and then decreased in the middle of the semester and slightly increased during the exam period. This indicates that facilitating students' non-task activities during the first few weeks of the semester is of prime importance. Based on the findings, this paper provides recommendations for enhancing future CSCL developments.
- computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL)
- content analysis
- non-task interactions
- online pattern
- Text Analysis Tool