Forum Quality or Quantity: What is Driving Student Engagement Online?

September 17, 2017

The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between forum quality and student engagement. It was hypothesized when the forum prompt was of expected quality it would be a driver of student engagement and examined the length of the forum prompt in relation to student engagement. The methodology adopted for this study was quantitative–a regression was performed for the regressor variables, collectively, with each dependent variable. In addition, a standard regression was performed for quality of forum prompt with each dependent variable, separately.  Data was collected over an eight-month period from May through December of 2015 from the following programs within the School of Business in an online university: accounting, business administration, government contracting, economics, entrepreneurship, finance, hospitality, human resource management, management, marketing, retail management, reverse logistics management, and transportation and logistics management. We examined the theory established by Salmon regarding the 5-stage model for forum development: (1) access and motivation, (2) online socialization, (3) information exchange, (4) knowledge construction, and (5) development. It was determined stages one and two are critical for student engagement as the more in depth the prompt the less likely students were to engage.

Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration