Redefining Online Discussions: Using Participant Stances to Promote Collaboration and Cognitive Engagement

January 1, 2013

Advances in technology are having a profound impact on distance education as online learning is becoming a preferred educational option. Within these online learning experiences, the asynchronous online discussion has evolved into one of the most commonly used communication tools. However, a lack of cognitive processing and interaction in the discussions appears to limit the potential benefits as suggested within social constructivist theories. This research analyzed participant responses and postings in online discussions and identified seven stances relative to collaboration and cognitive engagement of participants. A taxonomy was created that allows categorization of participant stances with respect to the two constructs. Implications for teaching and research are presented with attention to facilitative prompts, which are used to enhance collaboration and participation within online discussions.

International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education

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