Mapping the components of the telephone conference: an analysis of tutorial talk at a distance learning institution

M. Horton-Salway, J. Montague, S. Wiggins, S. Seymour-Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This article maps the components of telephone tutorial conferences (TTCs) used for distance learning in higher education. Using conversation analysis we identified four common sequences of TTCs as 'calling in'; 'agenda-setting'; 'tutorial proper'; and 'closing down'. Patterns of student participation look similar to those in face-to-face tutorials and the degree of interaction during 'calling-in' and agenda setting does not foretell student participation in the 'tutorial proper'. Student participation was related to differences in 'communicative formats' adopted by tutors and students for different purposes. These findings have helped us reflect on our communicative practices as university teachers and indicate that TTCs are functionally comparable with face-to-face tutorials in higher education settings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)737-758
Number of pages22
JournalDiscourse Studies
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008


  • communicative formats
  • conversation analysis
  • distance learning
  • student participation
  • telephone tutorial conferences

Cite this