An Exploratory Examination of Student-Led, Asynchronous Collaborative Online Discussions in Fostering Higher-Order Cognitive Skills and Ethical Leadership Learning

Graziella Pagliarulo McCarron, Larisa Olesova, Brianna Calkins

Abstract


Previous studies have contextualized student-led, asynchronous online discussions as collaborative learning experiences that positively impact students’ learning and foster higher order cognitive skills. From a leadership education perspective, student-led discussions have come to the fore as a helpful resource for deepening learning because of their focus on collaboration and shared leadership. While literature on student-led online discussions, leadership learning, and cognitive skill is plentiful, there is no single study that explores all these elements together or fully points to how practicing meaning-making in online, asynchronous leadership courses can inform larger cognitive processes. Thus, the purpose of this conceptual content analysis-based study was to examine 35 undergraduate students’ collaborative discussion board posts at the beginning, middle, and end of an online, asynchronous Ethics and Leadership class to assess not only if and to what extent students expressed cognitive skills, in general, but also if and to what extent they understood ethical leadership via these types of discussions. Further, from an exploratory lens, this study examined if there was a relationship between expression of higher order cognitive skills and more complex ethical leadership understanding. Results indicate that, while students achieved higher order cognitive skills and more holistic ethical leadership understanding overall, robustness of student engagement could be situational in nature and expressions of cognitive skills and ethical leadership understanding tapered as the course progressed. Additional findings and implications are discussed.


Keywords


asynchronous discussion boards; cognitive skill; online leadership education

Full Text:

PDF

References


Akin, L., & Neal, D. (2007). CREST+ model: Writing effective online discussion questions. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 3(2), 191-202. https://doi.org/10.1891/9780826134097.0007

Aloni, M., & Harrington, C. (2018). Research based practices for improving the effectiveness of asynchronous online discussion boards. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology, 4(4), 271-289. https://doi.org/10.1037/stl0000121

Baran, E., & Correia, A-P. (2009). Student-led facilitation strategies in online discussions. Distance Education, 30(3), 339-361. https://doi.org/10.1080/01587910903236510

Belur, J., Tompson, L., Thornton, A., & Simon, M. (2021). Interrater reliability in systematic review methodology: Exploring variation in coder decision-making. Sociological Methods & Research, 50(2), 837–865. https://doi.org/10.1177/0049124118799372

Bloom, B. S. (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives: The classification of educational goals. Longmans, Green.

Bleich, M. R. (2020). The discussion board in online learning: Leadership development opportunities. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 51(12), 541-543. https://doi.org/10.3928/00220124-20201113-03

Boston, W., Ice, P., & Burgess, M. (2012). Assessing student retention in online learning environments: A longitudinal study. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, 15(2).

Brown, M., McCormack, M., Reeves, J. D. Brooks, C., Susan Grajek, Alexander, B., Bali, M., Bulger, S., Dark, S., Engelbert, N., Gannon, K., Gauthier, A., Gibson, D., Gibson, R., Lundin, B., Veletsianos, G., & Weber, N. (2020). 2020 EDUCAUSE Horizon Report, Teaching and Learning Edition, EDUCAUSE. Retrieved from https://library.educause.edu/-/media/files/library/2020/3/2020_horizon_report_pdf

Chen, Y., Lei, J., & Cheng, J. (2019). What if online students take on the responsibility: students’ cognitive presence and peer facilitation techniques. Online Learning, 23(1), 37-61. https://doi.org/10.24059/olj.v23i1.1348

Darabi, A. & Jin, L. (2013). Improving the quality of online discussion: The effects of strategies design based on cognitive load theory principles. Distance Education, 34(1), 21-36. https://doi.org/10.1080/01587919.2013.770429

Darabi, A., Liang, X., Suryavanshi, R., & Yurekli, H. (2013). Effectiveness of online discussion strategies: A meta-analysis. American Journal of Distance Education, 27(4), 228-241. https://doi.org/10.1080/08923647.2013.837651

de Brey, C., Snyder, T. D., Zhang, A., & Dillow, S.A. (2021). Digest of Education Statistics 2019 (NCES 2021-009). National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2021/2021009.pdf

Dennen, V. P., & Wieland, K. (2007). From interaction to intersubjectivity: Facilitating online group discourse processes. Distance Education, 28(3), 281-297. https://doi.org/10.1080/01587910701611328

deNoyelles, A., Zydney, J. M., & Chen, B. (2014). Strategies for creating a community of inquiry through online asynchronous discussions. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 10(1), 153-165.

de Oliveira, L. & Olesova, L. (2013). Learning about the literacy development of English Language Learners in asynchronous online discussions. Journal of Education, 193(2), 15-23. https://doi.org/10.1177/002205741319300203

De Wever, B., Van Keer, H., Schellens, T., & Valcke, M. (2010). Roles as a structuring tool in online discussion groups: The differential impact of different roles on social knowledge construction. Computers in Human Behavior, 26(4), 516-523. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2009.08.008

Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and education. Macmillan

Dugan, J. P. (2017). Leadership theory: Cultivating critical perspectives. John Wiley & Sons.

Dugan, J. P., & Humbles, A. D. (2018). A paradigm shift in leadership education: Integrating critical perspectives into leadership development. New Directions for Student Leadership, 2018(159), 9-26. https://doi.org/10.1002/yd.20294

Dugan, J. P., & Komives, S. R. (2007). Developing leadership capacity in college students: Findings from a national study. A Report from the Multi-Institutional Study of Leadership. National Clearinghouse for Leadership Programs.

Fauville, G., Luo, M., Muller Queiroz, A. C., Bailenson, J. N., & Hancock, J. (2021). Zoom Exhaustion & Fatigue Scale. SSRN Electronic Journal. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3786329

Friedman, J. (2018). Study: More students are enrolling in online courses. US News and World Report. Retrieved from https://www.usnews.com/higher-education/online-education/slideshows/discover-10-current-trends-in-online-education

Galbraith, C. S., & Merrill, G. B. (2012). Academic and work-related burnout: A longitudinal study of working undergraduate university business students. Journal of College Student Development, 53(3), 453-463. https://doi.org/10.1353/csd.2012.0044

Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2001) Critical thinking, cognitive presence, and computer conferencing in distance education, American Journal of Distance Education, 15(1), 7-23. https://doi.org/10.1080/08923640109527071

Gunawardena, C. N., Lowe, C. A., & Anderson, T. (1997). Analysis of a global online debate and the development of an interaction analysis model for examining social construction of knowledge in computer conferencing. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 17(4), 397-431.

Guthrie, K. L., Jones, T. B., & Osteen, L. (Eds.). (2016). Developing culturally relevant leadership learning. New Directions for Student Leadership, (No. 152). Wiley.

Guthrie, K. L., & Meriwether, J. L. (2018). Leadership development in digital spaces through mentoring, coaching, and advising. New Directions for Student Leadership, 2018(158), 99-110. https://doi.org/10.1002/yd.20291

Harasim, L. (2000). Shift happens: Online education as a new paradigm in learning. The Internet and Higher Education, 3(1-2), 41-61. https://doi.org/10.1016/s1096-7516(00)00032-4

Heaton, J. (2008). Secondary analysis of qualitative data: An overview. Historical Social Research/Historische Sozialforschung, 33-45.

Hew, K. F. (2015). Student perceptions of peer versus instructor facilitation of asynchronous online discussions: Further findings from three cases. Instructional Science, 43(1), 19-38. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11251-014-9329-2

Hew, K. F., & Cheung, W. S. (2011). Higher-level knowledge construction in asynchronous online discussions: an analysis of group size, duration of online discussion, and student facilitation techniques. Instructional Science, 39(3), 303-319. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11251-010-9129-2

Higher Education Research Institute. (1996). A social change model of leadership development. Higher Education Research Institute. Retrieved from https://www.heri.ucla.edu/PDFs/pubs/ASocialChangeModelofLeadershipDevelopment.pdf

Hrastinski, S. (2018). A study of asynchronous and synchronous e-learning methods discovered that each supports different purposes. EDUCAUSE Quarterly, 31(4). Retrieved from http://www-cdn.educause.edu/library/EQM0848

Jenkins, D. (2016). Teaching leadership online: An exploratory study of instructional and assessment strategy use. Journal of Leadership Education, 15(12), 129-149. https://doi.org/10.12806/V17/I1/R2

Johansson, E. (2020). The assessment of higher-order thinking skills in online EFL courses: A quantitative content analysis. English Studies, 19(1), 224-256. https://doi.org/10.35360/njes.519

Kennedy, D. (2004). The role of a facilitator in a community of philosophical inquiry. Metaphilosophy, 35(5), 744-765. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9973.2004.00348.x

Kennedy, N. S., & Kennedy, D. (2010). Between chaos and entropy: community of inquiry from a systems perspective. Complicity: An International Journal of Complexity and Education, 7(2). https://doi.org/10.29173/cmplct8917

Knowles, M. (1973). The adult learner: A neglected species. Gulf.

Komives, S. R., Lucas, N., & McMahon, T. R. (2013). Exploring leadership: For college students who want to make a difference (3rd ed.). Jossey-Bass.

Komives, S. R., Wagner, W., & Associates. (2016). Leadership for a better world: Understanding the social change model of leadership development. Wiley.

Koo, T. K., & Li, M. Y. (2016). A Guideline of Selecting and Reporting Intraclass Correlation Coefficients for Reliability Research. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, 15(2), 155-163. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcm.2016.02.012

Laal, M., & Ghodsi, S. M. (2012). Benefits of collaborative learning. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 31, 486-490. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2011.12.091

Lee, J., & Martin, L. (2017). Investigating students’ perceptions of motivating factors in online class discussions. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 18(5), 148-172. https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v18i5.2883

Lim, F. P. (2017). An analysis of synchronous and asynchronous communication tools. Advanced Science and Technology Letters, 143(AST 2017), 230-234. https://doi.org/10.14257/astl.2017.143.46

McCarron, G. P., Jackson, G. R., McNaughtan, J. L., Olesova, L., Schmidt, G. B., & Adams, T. T. (2020). Centering dialogic and digital approaches in leadership education pedagogy: Priority 6 of the National Leadership Education Research Agenda 2020–2025. Journal of Leadership Studies, 14(3), 72-77. https://doi.org/10.1002/jls.21716

McRay, J., Goertzen, B., & Klaus, K. (2016). Student-moderated discussion boards in a graduate online course. Journal of Leadership Education, 15(1), 150-160. https://doi.org/10.12806/v15/i1/a6

Moallem, M. (2015). The impact of synchronous and asynchronous communication tools on learner self-regulation, social presence, immediacy, intimacy and satisfaction in collaborative online learning. The Online Journal of Distance Education and e-Learning, 3(3), 55-77.

Munshi, M., Kuril, S., Sharif Khan, D., Shrimali, T., & Gaur, S. (2019). Strategic evolution from confinement of face to face learning and shift to online learning. International Educational Applied Research Journal. 3(10), 32–38.

O'Keefe, S., & Meeker, C. (2019). Career readiness through leadership education [Audio Podcast]. National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA). Retrieved from https://soundcloud.com/user-606900324-709612745/episode-58-career-readiness- through-leadership-education

Owen, J. E. (Ed.). (2015). Innovative learning for leadership development. New Directions for Student Leadership, (No. 145). Wiley.

Perrotta, K. (2020). Getting HIP: A study on the implementation of asynchronous discussion boards as a high-impact practice in online undergraduate survey history courses. The Journal of Social Studies Research, 44(2), 209-217. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jssr.2020.02.001

Peterson, A. T., Beymer, P. N., & Putnam, R.T. (2018). Synchronous and asynchronous discussions: Effects on cooperation, belonging, and affect. Online Learning, 22(4), 7-25. https://doi.org/10.24059/olj.v22i4.1517

Purcell, J. W. (2017). Community‐engaged pedagogy in the virtual classroom: Integrating eService‐learning into online leadership education. Journal of Leadership Studies, 11(1), 65-70. https://doi.org/10.1002/jls.21515

Rose, S., Spinks, N., & Canhoto, A. I. (2015). Management research: Applying the principles. Routledge.

Roseth, C. J., Saltarelli, A. J., & Glass, C. R. (2011). Effects of face-to-face and computer mediated constructive controversy on social interdependence, motivation, and achievement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 103, 804-820. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0024213

Rost, J. C., & Barker, R. A. (2000). Leadership education in colleges: Toward a 21st century paradigm. Journal of Leadership Studies, 7(1), 3-12. https://doi.org/10.1177/107179190000700102

Schindler, L.A., & Burkholder, G.J. (2014). Instructional design and facilitation approaches that promote critical thinking in asynchronous online discussions: A review of the literature. Higher Learning Research Communications, 4(4), 11-29. https://doi.org/10.18870/hlrc.v4i4.222

Smith, D. N. (2015). Effectively using discussion boards to engage students in introductory leadership courses. International Journal of Leadership in Education, 14(2), 230-237. https://doi.org/10.12806/v14/i2/ab3

Ulum, Ö. G. (2016). A descriptive content analysis of the extent of Bloom’s taxonomy in the reading comprehension questions of the course book Q: Skills for success 4 reading and writing. The Qualitative Report 21(9), 1674-1683. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2016.2172

Waters, J. (2012). Thought-leaders in asynchronous online learning environments. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 16(1), 19-33. https://doi.org/10.24059/olj.v16i1.219

Yang, D., Richardson, J. C., French, B. F., & Lehman, J. D. (2011). The development of a content analysis model for assessing students’ cognitive learning in asynchronous online discussion. Educational Technology Research and Development, 59(1), 43-70. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-010-9166-1

Xie, K. & Ke, F. (2011). The role of students’ motivation in peer-moderated asynchronous online discussions. British Journal of Educational Technology, 42(6), 916–930. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8535.2010.01140.x




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24059/olj.v25i4.2895



Copyright (c) 2021 Graziella Pagliarulo McCarron, Larisa Olesova, Brianna Calkins

License URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/