CEC Faculty Proceedings, Presentations, Speeches and Lectures


Evaluating the impact of discussion forums in web-based courses

Event Location / Date(s)

Orlando, FL / February 18-20, 2004

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Presentation Date


Conference Name / Publication Title

Society for Applied Learning Technology (SALT) New Learning Technologies 2004


Although online education is accepted as a valid means of instruction across most college campuses, there is still a paucity of solid research on how to most effectively teach in that environment. What tools are most effective in online programs? This presentation will report on a longitudinal study covering 3 years and including 120 graduate students. The study analyzes the relationship between active participation in online discussion forums as measured by quantity, quality, and timing of entries and student success as measured by GPA, credits earned, persistence, and progress towards degree completion. This study represents a step in gaining better understanding of the impact of the pedagogical tools available for online instruction on student success. Although the study focused on graduate students in a technology-intensive field, the methodology followed can be extended to other online formats with different types of courses offered to students of varied backgrounds and educational levels.

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