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Mapping the components of the telephone conference: an analysis of tutorial talk at a distance learning institution

Horton-Salway, M. and Montague, J. and Wiggins, S. and Seymour-Smith, S. (2008) Mapping the components of the telephone conference: an analysis of tutorial talk at a distance learning institution. Discourse Studies, 10 (6). pp. 737-758. ISSN 1461-4456

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Abstract

This article maps the components of telephone tutorial conferences (TTCs) used for distance learning in higher education. Using conversation analysis we identified four common sequences of TTCs as 'calling in'; 'agenda-setting'; 'tutorial proper'; and 'closing down'. Patterns of student participation look similar to those in face-to-face tutorials and the degree of interaction during 'calling-in' and agenda setting does not foretell student participation in the 'tutorial proper'. Student participation was related to differences in 'communicative formats' adopted by tutors and students for different purposes. These findings have helped us reflect on our communicative practices as university teachers and indicate that TTCs are functionally comparable with face-to-face tutorials in higher education settings.