Online Collaborative Discussion: Myth or Valuable Learning Tool

July 30, 2007

his study was designed to examine online group discussions from a student’s perspective to determine what characteristics students identify as meaningful to their learning. Quantitative data were collected, analyzed, summarized in six tables. The overall results indicated that students preferred to have time to reflect on their discussions before having to give their answer. They also indicated that critical thinking skills and goals for course achievement were enhanced in online collaborative discussions. Students did not have a clear preference for group size whether for small groups or the entire class. Technical discussion projects were a preferred component of group discussions. Students were divided on their preferences for group work but overall preferred to work alone on online projects. Taking students’ perceptions into consideration, this study provides valuable implications for instructors to help students effectively self-regulate their online discussions, and positively enhance their online collaborative learning experience.

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