Catherine A. Bliss, Betty Lawrence


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.


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

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