Leveraging Disinhibition to Increase Student Authority in Asynchronous Online Discussion

Kenneth H. Martin


Disinhibition is recognized as an effect that prompts online users to communicate with less constraint than in face-to-face discussion. This article describes how disinhibition may affect more than individual entries. In a blended learning environment, it may alter the entire context of discussion by disrupting established patterns of interaction among students and their teacher. In this case, asynchronous online discussion accompanied classroom instruction in a twelfth grade English class. Online, students interacted with a wider circle of classmates and took more responsibility for managing their discussion while the teacher’s presence was more restrained. This study has implications for educators that wish to increase student authority in discussion while supporting their achievement of particular academic and discipline-specific discourse practices.


disinhibition; asynchronous online discussion; threaded discussion; blended learning; hybrid instruction; teaching presence

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24059/olj.v17i3.304

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