Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Examining student discussion forum participation: A critical analysis of interaction in a fully online classroom
by Becher, David, Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2015, 104; 3721012
Abstract (Summary)

Student participation in online classroom discussion fora is becoming an increasingly important subject to examine and analyze because of the potential implications participation can have on student performance and persistence. The objective of this study was to determine if a student’s participation level in online course discussion fora at a fully online institution serving more than 110,000 students was, associated with the grade earned in the course and the likelihood that the student would reenroll for additional courses within a three-month time frame. An analysis also was performed on data collected from a survey administered to a sample of students; the survey asked for their perceptions of their own participation as it related to the online courses they recently completed. This study was unique compared to other studies addressing student participation in the online classroom because the sample of data analyzed consisted of more than 91,000 unique students, 433 unique courses, more than 16,000 course sections, and more than seven million discussion forum posts consisting of more than 1.2 billion words. However, the results of this study were not unique and mirrored other studies’ results in that, students who had higher participation rates in the classroom, as measured by the size and number of discussion forum posts, tended to earn higher grades and enroll in additional courses. Results from the survey showed that students more strongly agreed that they participated in the discussion fora on a regular basis than spending time doing things such as helping other students or having fun in other classroom conversations.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Zemsky, Robert
Commitee: Diaz, Sebastian, Perna, Laura
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Higher Education Management
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 77/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Educational technology
Keywords: Classroom interaction, Discussion forum, Distance education, Retention, Self-perception, Student success
Publication Number: 3721012
ISBN: 9781339021737
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