Asynchronous, text-based communication is different from most other forms of interchange in important ways. It lacks the full spectrum of visual and audible information that people depend upon, often unconsciously, in face-to-face exchanges. It also requires different interaction strategies if it is to be used to create maximal educational benefit by and for students and teachers. These techniques can be modeled and made explicit by someone closely following online conversations in the role of facilitator, helping participants to construct online teaching/learning experiences in mutually beneficial ways. The Electronic Emissary’s years of research have shown that the people best prepared to assist in these ways have experience in both online communication and pedagogy. The Emissary’s facilitators provide individualized, “just in time” assistance to teachers, students, and subject matter experts during their telementoring exchanges.
Harris, J.B., & Figg, C. (2000). Participating from the sidelines, online: Facilitating telementoring projects. Journal of Computer Documentation, 24, 227-236.