CEC Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches and Lectures

Title

A study of time limit structures on participation flow in an asynchronous discussion forum

Event Location / Date(s)

San Antonio, TX / 2009

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Presentation Date

1-1-2009

Conference Name / Publication Title

Proceedings: ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference

ISSN or ISBN

0190-5848

First Page

1

Last Page

5

Description

The need for increased instructor involvement and teaching presence in an asynchronous discussion forum has received prominence in the literature. Less known is the influence of the instructor in structuring online forums to facilitate meaningful student participation and interaction. This study explored how the use of time structures established by the instructor moderates the flow of topic discussions in a forum. The study utilized five metrics - density, intensity, latency, responses, and a composite `wellness index' - to compare the patterns of discussion forum activity derived from graduate-level courses offered with two different instructor management approaches. In one set of five courses, the instructor utilized a time-structured style, in which discussion topics were identified at the beginning of the term and students had 21 days to contribute to each topic. In the second set of five courses, the instructor presented the topics gradually during varied time periods of the course of the term and imposed no specific deadlines for students to contribute. Although preliminary, the findings of the study indicate that the instructor's management style of introducing topics in an online course influences the flow of the discussion.

DOI

10.1109/FIE.2009.5350625

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