The development of discourse in the online environment: between technology and multiculturalism

Marcelo I. Dorfsman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This paper is the result of one academic year’s longitudinal study based on discussions that took place in seven online courses, as part of a blended learning academic program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The study’s aim was to identify and characterize developmental processes in online discussions, as well as to examine whether an online environment influences the discourse development within a culturally diverse group. This qualitative study entailed horizontal and vertical analyses of the discussion process, utilizing the micro-textual method, in order to identify the nature and development progress of the discussions. In the course of the study, four directions were identified in the progression of the discourse: discourse developing via antinomic pairs, discourse developing in spiral fashion, discourse developing via technological aids, and an evolving metacognitive discourse. The findings suggest that the online environment enables the development of an ethno-cultural discourse as an inseparable part of the narrative weave of each discussion (Jung et al., Culture and online learning: Global perspectives and research, 2015; GEMA: Online Journal of Language Studies 12(1):201–213, 2012) and is transformed into a space in which the narrative weave takes on life in different ways, built, in principle, from four types of discourse: personal-autobiographical, disciplinary, professional, and ethno-cultural (Dorfsman, El educador en línea: Más allá de la digitalidad, 2018).

Original languageAmerican English
Article number31
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, The Author(s).


  • Computer-mediated communication
  • Cross-cultural projects
  • Interactive learning environments


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