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Does the discussion help? The impact of a formally assessed online discussion on final student results

journal contribution
posted on 2008-09-01, 00:00 authored by Stuart Palmer, Dale Holt, S Bray
While there is agreement that participation in online asynchronous discussions can enhance student learning, it has also been identified that there is a need to investigate the impact of participation in online discussions on student course performance. This paper presents a case study based on an undergraduate engineering management unit employing a formally assessed online discussion area. It was observed that while many students read a significant number of discussion postings, generally, the posting of new and reply messages occurred at the minimum level required to qualify for the assignment marks. Based on correlation and multiple regression analysis, it was observed that two variables were significantly related to a student's final unit mark—prior academic ability and the number of new postings made to the online discussion. Each new posting contributed three times as much to the final unit mark as its nominal assessment value, suggesting that the work in preparing their new discussion postings assisted students in the completion of a range of assessable tasks for the unit. The number of postings read was not significantly correlated with the final unit mark, suggesting that passive lurking in this online discussion did not significantly contribute to student learning outcomes.

History

Journal

British journal of educational technology

Volume

39

Issue

5

Pagination

847 - 858

Publisher

Wiley-Blackwell

Location

Oxford, England

ISSN

0007-1013

eISSN

1467-8535

Language

eng

Notes

Published Online: 25 Oct 2007

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2007, Wiley-Blackwell Publishing

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