Discussion forums and peer collaboration: A case study of an on-campus teaching strategy

Source of Publication

Proceedings of the International Conference on e-Learning, ICEL


Copyright © The Authors, 2006. In this study, 165 undergraduate students were assigned to online tutorial discussion groups of eight or nine students per group, and during nine weeks of the semester, these groups used discussion forums to discuss assigned readings, present opinions, debate issues and summarise papers or information they had researched for their weekly tutorial assignment. The group leader wrote the assignment topic paper and rated group member's contributions to the discussion. Throughout the semester a total of 3,560 postings were generated. One hundred and forty seven (147) students agreed to participate in the study and have their weekly discussion forum postings analyzed. As well, they filled out an information sheet and completed a Learning Styles Index questionnaire before the first assignment. Two survey questionnaires were also conducted: Survey I examined the student's initial attitudes, while Survey II, administered five weeks later, revisited these attitudes and looked for changes. Within-survey correlations revealed small to moderate levels of statistically significant correlations in Survey I, and small to high levels in Survey II. Paired samples correlations showed statistically significant correlations (p<0.01) for all cases, and t-tests revealed that three of the paired questions showed a statistically significant (p<0.01) difference between the means. However, in all three cases the effect size was small. Implications of the findings from the discussion forum and the surveys are discussed.

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Conference Proceeding



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Author First name, Last name, Institution

Gilles Doiron, Zayed University

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