Title

Affective pointers in mathematics online help

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2007

Publication Title

The International Journal for Technology in Mathematics Education

Volume

14

Issue

1

First Page

40

Last Page

49

Abstract

This report is focused on the use of affective pointers (acknowledgements and hedges) detected in exchanges between learners and tutors on asynchronous mathematics online help sites. In this environment, both students and tutors use feedback in form of acknowledgements to control communication and assess its success. Hedges, or insecurities, point to difficulties in obtaining shared meaning between interlocutors in this type of tutoring. Three purposely selected sites with open access and asynchronous, text-based communication were investigated here. The results show that expert tutors use affective pointers differently than peer tutors. Detailed descriptions of acknowledgements and hedges are provided accompanied with conclusions related to their interpretation in attempt to raise sensitivity not only to cognitive but to affective states of participants in these forums.