IS THE WHOLE GREATER THAN THE SUM OF ITS PARTS? A COMPARISON OF SMALL GROUP AND WHOLE CLASS DISCUSSION BOARD ACTIVITY IN ONLINE COURSES

Catherine A. Bliss, Betty Lawrence

Abstract


Methods for characterizing asynchronous text-based discussions have received significant attention in the literature. In this study, we examine student and instructor posts made in seventeen undergraduate mathematics courses over the duration of a fifteen-week semester (n=6964 posts). We apply our previously developed multifactor discussion board metric to compare differences in student participation, quantities of student posts, quality of posts, extent of threading, and instructor presence in small group and whole class discussion board activities. Results from this study indicate that small group discussions contained greater levels of student participation, greater quantities of posts per student and greater numbers of educationally valuable (content-related) posts per student as compared to whole class discussions within these courses. Interestingly, small group discussions contained a greater proportion of less educationally valuable posts as compared to whole class discussions.


Keywords


Distance Learning,Discussion Board,Asynchronous Learning,Cooperative Learning,Collaboration,Educationally Valuable Talk,Metric,Mathematics,Online Learning

Full Text:

PDF

References


Curtis, D.D. and M.L. Lawson. Exploring collaborative online learning. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks 5(1): 21–34, 2001. Available (membership required) http:://www.sloanconsortium.org/publications/jaln/v5n1/pdf/v5n1_curtis.pdf.

Dornyei, Z. Psychological processes in cooperative language learning: Group dynamics and motivation. The Modern Language Journal 81(4): 482–493, 1997.

Aviv, R. Educational performance of ALN via content analysis. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks 4(2): 53–72, 2000. Available (membership required) http://www.sloanconsortium.org/publications/jaln/v4n2/pdf/v4n2_aviv.pdf.

Brewer, S. and J. D. Klein. Type of positive interdependence and affiliation motive in an asynchronous, collaborative learning environment. Educational Technology, Research and Development 54(4): 331–354, 2006.

Johnson, D. W. and R. Johnson. Cooperation and Competition: Theory and Research. Edina, MN: Interaction Book Company, 1989.

Slavin, R. Cooperative Learning: Theory, Research and Practice. Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon, 1995.

Ikpeze, C. Small group collaboration in peer-led electronic discourse: An analysis of group dynamics and interactions involving preservice and inservice teachers. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education 15(3): 383–407, 2007.

Guzdial, M. and J. Turns. Effective discussion through a computer mediated anchored forum. Journal of the Learning Sciences 9(4): 437–469, 2000.

Liu, C.C. and C.C. Tsai. An analysis of peer interaction peer interaction patterns as discoursed by on-line small group problem solving activity. Computers and Education 50: 627–638, 2008.

Vonderwell, S., X. Liang, & K. Alderman. Asynchronous discussions and assessment in online learning. Journal of Research on Technology in Education 39(3): 309–328, 2007.

Dennen, V. P. From message posting to learning dialogues: Factors affecting learner participation in asynchronous discussion. Distance Education 26(1): 127–148, 2005.

Paulus, T. Online but off-topic: negotiating common ground in small learning groups. Instructional Science 37(3): 227–245, 2009.

Swan, K., P Shea, E. E. Fredericksen, A. M. Pickett & W. E. Pelz. Course design factors influencing the success of online learning. WebNet 2000 World Conference on the WWW and Internet Proceedings. San Antonio, Texas, October 30–November 4th, 2000.

Wilhelm, K. H. Sometimes kicking and screaming: Language teachers-in-training react to a collaborative learning model. The Modern Language Journal 81(4): 527–543, 1997.

Schellens, T., H. Van Keer, & M. Valcke. The impact of role assignment of knowledge construction in asynchronous discussion groups. Small Group Research 36(6): 704–745, 2005.

Strijbos, J. W., R. L. Martens & W. M. G. Jochems. Designing for interaction: Six steps to designing computer-supported group-based learning. Computers and Education 42(4): 403–424,2004.

Kurtts, S., K. Hibbard & B. Levin. Collaborative online problem solving with preservice general education and special education teachers. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education 13(3): 397–414, 2005.

Vygotsky, L.S. Mind and Society: The Development of Higher Mental Processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1978.

Benigno, V. & G. Trentin. The evaluation of online courses. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning 16: 259–270, 2000.

Hazari, S. Strategy for assessment of online course discussions. Journal of Information Systems Education 15(4): 349–355, 2004.

Kay, R. H. Developing a comprehensive metric for assessing discussion board effectiveness. British Journal of Educational Technology 37(5): 761–783, 2006.

Mazzolini, M. & S. Maddison. Sage, guide or ghost? The effect of instructor intervention on student participation in online discussion forums. Computers and Education 40: 237–253, 2003.

Roblyer, M. D. & W. R. Wiencke. Design and use of a rubric to assess and encourage interactive qualities in distance courses. The American Journal of Distance Education 17(2): 77–98, 2003.

Bliss, C. A. & B. Lawrence. From posts to patterns: A metric to characterize discussion board activity in online courses. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks 13(2):15–32, 2009.

Picciano, A. G. Beyond student perceptions: Issues of interactions, presence, and performance in an online course. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks 6(1): 21–40, 2002. Available (membership required) http://www.sloanconsortium.org/publications/jaln/v6n1/pdf/v6n1_picciano.pdf.

Jiang, M. & E. Ting. A study of factors influencing students’ perceived learning in a web-based course environment. International Journal of Educational Telecommunications 6(4): 317–333, 2000.

Mazzolini, M. & S. Maddison. Sage, guide or ghost? The effect of instructor intervention on student participation in online discussion forums. Computers and Education 40: 237–253, 2003.

Nisbet, D. Measuring the quantity and quality of online discussion group interaction. Journal of eLiteracy 1(2): 122–139, 2004.

Marra, R. M., J. L. Moor & A. K. Klimczak. Content analysis of online discussion forums: A comparative analysis of protocols. Educational Technology Research and Development 52(2): 23–40, 2004.

Bali, M.& A. R. Ramadan. Using rubrics and content analysis for evaluation online discussion: A case study from an environmental course. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks 11(4): 19–33, 2007. Available (membership required): http://www.sloanconsortium.org/publications/jaln/v11n4/pdf/v11n4_bali.pdf.

Rovai, A. P. Strategies for grading online discussions. Journal of Computing in Higher Education 15(1): 89–107, 2003.

Uzuner, S. Educationally valuable talk: A new concept for determining the quality of online conversations. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching 3(4): 400–410, 2007.

Hill, J. R. & M. J. Hannafin. Teaching and learning in digital environments: The resurgence of resource based learning. Educational Technology Research and Development 49(3): 37–52, 2001.

Blignaut, A. S. & S.R. Trollip. Measuring faculty participation in asynchronous discussion forums. Journal of Education for Business 78(6): 347–353, 2003.

Bloom, B. S. Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, Handbook 1: The Cognitive Domain. New York: NY: David McKay Co Inc., 1956.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24059/olj.v13i4.1646



Copyright (c) 2019 Catherine A. Bliss, Betty Lawrence