CEC Faculty Articles

Title

Temporal transitions in participation flow in an asynchronous discussion forum

Document Type

Article

Date

1-1-2010

Publication Title

Computers & Education

ISSN or ISBN

0360-1315

Volume

54

Issue

2

First Page

340

Last Page

349

Description

This study examined the overarching issue of how temporal transitions, specifically duration of message flow, affects momentum or wellness of discussion in an asynchronous forum. Quantitative data representing time indicators in discussion activity included posting patterns related to duration (density, intensity, latency, and response count), Day-In topic, day of week, and time of day. Qualitative analysis identified notable spikes or irregularities (i.e., peaks and valleys) in the content level of postings. Results revealed that for open-ended topics (i.e., no specific end date imposed by the instructor), the momentum of forum discussion may be short-term, between 21 and 28 days into the topic. Peaks and valleys subsequent to 31 days were not significant to discussion vitality. Students posted mainly early to mid-week. Time of day had no direct influence on the vitality of the discussion. Strategies for applying temporal transitions in an online forum to motivate and sustain student participation are discussed.

DOI

10.1016/j.compedu.2009.08.011

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