Patterns of Interaction in a Computer Conference Transcript


  • Patrick J. Fahy
  • Gail Crawford
  • Mohamed Ally



Transcript Analysis Tool, TAT, transcript analysis, distance education


An analysis of the interaction patterns in an online conference from a distance education graduate course was conducted, using an approach that focused on the transcript's interactional and structural features. A new tool for transcript analysis, the TAT (Transcript Analysis Tool), was used to analyze interactional features, while structural elements suggested by social network theory were examined. Analysis of the patterns of interaction in the conference showed interaction was variable, and that while all participants were engaged, intensity and persistence of participation were unequal among individual participants in several ways. The TAT showed the proportions of five major types of sentences in the transcript, corresponding to different modes of interaction (questions, statements, reflections, engaging comments, and quotations/citations). The findings showed that the TAT seemed to relate usefully to other work in this area, and that social network principles were valuable in the analysis of conference interaction.

Author Biographies

Patrick J. Fahy

Patrick J. Fahy’s career has included high school and adult education teaching and research experience, as well as private sector management, training and consulting. He coordinates the Advanced Graduate Diploma in Distance Education (Technology) at Athabasca University, as well as teaching and advising in the Master of Distance Education (MDE) program there.

Gail Crawford

Gail Crawford, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Centre for Distance Education (CDE) and a core faculty member in the Master of Distance Education Program at Athabasca University. She is engaged in teaching and supervising graduate students, participating in program management and planning and in conducting research in open and distance learning.

Mohamed Ally

Mohamed Ally is currently an Associate Professor in the Master of Distance Education (MDE) Program at Athabasca University, Canada. He is currently teaching graduate level distance education courses and supervising graduate students’ research in distance education.




How to Cite

Fahy, P. J., Crawford, G., & Ally, M. (2001). Patterns of Interaction in a Computer Conference Transcript. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 2(1).



Research Articles