Zirve University (TURKEY)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2012 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Pages: 4399-4404
ISBN: 978-84-616-0763-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 5th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 19-21 November, 2012
Location: Madrid, Spain
Online and blended learning is experiencing a dramatic growth in distance education courses offered by higher-education institutions. Lack of social communication is often cited as one of the reasons for students’ dissatisfaction with online courses (van Tyron & Bishop, 2009). Asynchronous discussion forums facilitate student-student and student-instructor interactions during online learning. In online and blended context, discussion forums are valued for the opportunities they enable strong communication between learners and instructors (Swan & Shea, 2005). In most of studies students appreciated learning from their peers rather than instructor and understanding the course (Kear, 2007; Basset, 2011). With the support of peers as well as the instructor, students are more likely to achieve goals they may not have been able to meet on their own (Grabinger & Dunlap, 2000).Asynchronous threaded discussions allow students to post, read and respond to messages independently of time or place and give students an opportunity for deeper reflection and understanding of topics. Despite increasing use of asynchronous threaded discussion forums, not so many researches have been conducted on what students think about forums. This study focuses on learner experiences of asynchronous threaded discussion forums in a Moodle website ( The context for the study was an offering an undergraduate course on computer at a Turkish University called Zirve University. The course followed a blended structure (2 hours face-to-face, 2 hours online). For the online component students were required to participate in four asynchronous discussions every week. Ioannou and Artino (2009) developed a survey called “collaborative learning in computer-mediated environments” based on the literature. Four key variables were associated with this instrument: (a) perceived learning,(b) communication and reflection, and (c) satisfaction with the learning experience, and (d) frustration with technology. All variables were validated with the studies done previously. 52 students (44 female, 8 male) were asked to examine the perceived learning, communication and reflection, satisfaction with the learning experience and frustration with technology of discussion forums. Semi-structured questions were asked to the students with Google docs in the Moodle website. Students were encouraged to answer the questions. Content analysis was done with a qualitative analysis program called Atlas ti 6.0. The findings from study show that learners valued peer-learning, increased and empowered communication, strong reflection and democratic atmosphere of the forums. Past research has indicated that students reported that asynchronous discussion forums helped them learn the content (Vonderwell, 2003). On the contrary lack of experience, topic oriented and extracurricular discussions were viewed as challenges. Palloff and Pratt (1999) state that online learners adopt new friends in online learning. Present study show that communication between peers in the classroom empowered and developed. Majority of students reported their retention of information, learning different ideas from the peers and communication skills increased by using asynchronous threaded discussion forums.
Asynchronous Discussion Forum, Blended Learning.