Threaded discussions represent conversational turn-taking in asynchronous, online learning environments. Given the crucial role that discussions play in the construction of knowledge within an online course, the quality of the interaction that occurs within threaded discussions is important to achieving the learning objectives of the designed instruction. Despite this importance, research has consistently demonstrated that the threaded discussions could offer more substantial benefit to learning in constructivist environments. Three variables, two of which were considered elements of course design, were examined relative to threaded discussions: intersubjectivity, cognitive requirement of prompt (CROP), and time in course (TIC). Intersubjectivity is the representation of knowledge construction achieved through a synergistic progression from individual contributions to sequences of interdependent contributions. This variable was measured using the Interaction Analysis Model, a tool of content analysis developed in 1997 through a grounded theory approach. CROP was defined as the highest category in the cognitive process dimension of Bloom's revised taxonomy that was required within the response to a discussion prompt. TIC was the amount of course time that had elapsed before a particular message was posted to the discussion board, calculated as the percentage of course completion at the time the response was made. Peer responses ( n=167) were examined from a wholly online communications course offered through an accredited community college. Both elements of course design, CROP and TIC, were found to have significant, positive correlations with intersubjectivity as a measure of quality in online classroom discourse. As online course delivery continues to grow, the challenge for instructional designers is the identification and implementation of those course elements which facilitate intersubjectivity in online courses. This study demonstrated that the cognitive requirement of prompt and time in course are two elements that are related to the quality of discourse within threaded discussions. The initial prompt is one of the first pieces of scaffolding necessary for the knowledge construction requisite in a constructivist learning environment. Instructional designers should continue to recognize that the strength of the construction of knowledge, as evidenced in the threaded discussion, depends upon the strength of the scaffolding that supports that construction.
|Commitee:||Silber, Ken, Thornton, Nan|
|Department:||School of Education|
|School Location:||United States -- Minnesota|
|Source:||DAI-A 73/03, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Instructional Design, Adult education, Curriculum development|
|Keywords:||Cognitive requirement of prompt, Interaction, Intersubjectivity, Question, Threaded discussions, Time in course|
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