ENGAGING GRADUATE STUDENTS IN RICH ASYNCHRONOUS ONLINE DISCUSSIONS
Sam Houston State University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2012 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Conference name: 6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2012
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:Given the importance of online instructional procedures that engage students in rich online discussions and enhance the quantity and the quality of the discussions, the purpose of this study was to investigate how a particular online instructor engaged graduate students in asynchronous online discussions, what roles the instructor played to engage graduate students in asynchronous online discussions, and how the instructional procedures used in this course were effective .
Vygotsy’s sociocultural framework and the pedagogy of mutiliteracies were used to frame this study. Qualitative and quantitative research methodologies were applied when analyzing the data. Triangulation of sources and review by inquiry participants were conducted to increase the credibility of the research results. Multiple data were collected from the professor, two teaching assistants, and six graduate students. All participants were interviewed about their online course experience.
The results reveal that the use of e-mails and the online presence of the instructor had a huge impact on the students’ engagement in rich online discussions. In addition, interaction among instructors and students through e-mails positively affected the student-student and student-content interaction. The students’ engagement in the discussions intensely occurred when receiving consistent academic feedback form the instructor. The findings particularly underlined the use of teaching assistants in helping with multiple discussions.
Online educators will be able to implement effective instructional strategies that engage students in rich online discussions and improve student learning achievement in online discussions in any online courses. In order to generalize the findings to larger populations, a longitudinal research should be conducted to study engagement strategies used by different online professors.
Keywords: Asynchronous online discussions, Engagement, On-line Instructor’s roles, Rich online discussions.