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Balancing Expert and Peer-Student Identities in Online Discussion Forums

EasyChair Preprint no. 10681

5 pagesDate: August 7, 2023


This paper analyses how students collaborating to improve a translation in online discussion forums construct credibility by projecting an expert image. The analysis focuses on the writing style of three prestige-prominent students, and how they manage to balance the conflicting goals of demonstrating expertise to legitimize their status as advice-givers and asserting their student identities to mitigate imposition. They present themselves as 1) knowledgeable and trustworthy, by using academic and specialized language, adopting a professorial role, citing reliable sources or claiming personal experience; but also 2) as sensitive towards other participants through displays of honesty, humility and in-group solidarity. Their distinct ways of balancing expertise and peer-solidarity arguably explains their relative prominence in the forums rendering their contributions more reliable and acceptable, consequently more worth reading by their colleagues, while also probably securing them better grades. The findings have pedagogical interest for the teaching of academic online discussion skills.

Keyphrases: discussion forums, expertise, identity, peer advice

BibTeX entry
BibTeX does not have the right entry for preprints. This is a hack for producing the correct reference:
  author = {Francisco Javier Fernández Polo},
  title = {Balancing Expert and Peer-Student Identities in Online Discussion Forums},
  howpublished = {EasyChair Preprint no. 10681},

  year = {EasyChair, 2023}}
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