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Conversation Analysis as a Tool to Understand Online Social Encounters INTRODUCTION Conversation Analysis (CA) studies talk in natu- rally occurring interactions. It originated from the works of Harvey Sacks (1974), who wanted to develop an observational science as an alter- native means to examine details in actual social events. CA studies how social orders are produced and how societies reproduce these social orders through details grounded in "talk-in-interaction". CA seeks to place a new emphasis on participants' orientation to indigenous social and cultural constructs. It seeks to describe the underlying social organization ­ conceived as an institutional substratum of international rules, procedures, and conventions­ through which orderly and intelli- gible social interaction is made possible (Goodwin & Heritage, 1990, p. 283). In using CA to study interactions in a social context, we seek to understand the transaction of processes and maintenance of orderliness of how participants in an online learning environment go about their business of transacting and sharing their knowledge to accomplish learning is at best an intelligent guess by researchers currently. In this chapter, we suggest using CA as a tool to uncover and illumine the micro structures of "virtual talk- in-interaction" so as to better understand the social structures that are embedded in the orderliness of online learning environments. The examples presented in this chapter are chosen to illustrate how CA and Freebody's (2003) six analytic passes can be used and are useful for analyzing asynchronous discussion, the focus is not on the results and implications of each example analyzed. BACKGROUND With the proliferation of educational technology