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Analysis of Online Facilitators’ Social Relations and Facilitating Styles in Cross-Cultural Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning
Effie Lai-Chong Law and Anh Vu Nguyen-Ngoc

Online facilitation in a cross-cultural collaborative context is increasingly prevalent, but limited research has been conducted on the related issues, two of which are examined in this paper with reference to the empirical data of an exploratory user trial involving multinational facilitators, students and researchers. Results of our meticulous content analysis of online forum messages and video-conference protocols indicate that interpersonal relationships seem not necessary for realizing the task of online collaborative facilitation by a group of facilitators with salient group identity and fixed-term collaboration. The duration of the collaboration and the availability of social cues cannot consistently explain the group’s heavy task-orientation. Sociograms illustrate the patterns of facilitator-student interactions. No consistent findings indicate that active facilitation could yield significantly higher students’ performances.

Keywords: Online facilitation, cross-cultural collaboration, social network analysis, interpersonal relationship, group identity, content analysis.

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