Student grouping for successful online asynchronous discussions in a middle school literacy program
Linda L. Livingstone, Capella University, United States
Capella University . Awarded
Literacy skills in the 21st century classroom require the integration of technology while striving for increased student achievement. The teacher who wishes to incorporate online discussions into the middle school classroom is challenged by how best to group students in discussions for equitable, sustained participation by all members. This study examined current practices in the use of online asynchronous discussions and considered the composition of discussion groups with regard to size and gender in an attempt to develop criteria for forming online discussion groups. The qualitative study analyzed discussion transcripts from 44 eighth-grade students in ten discussion groups in one middle school during a 4-week period. The primary research question of this study was: How does the grouping of students influence middle school student participation in an online asynchronous discussion? Additional questions of the study asked what happens to students' participation when they are placed in single-gender or mixed-gender groups. The final question of the study asked what happens to students' participation when they are placed in groups of 4 versus groups of 5. The study results are inconclusive but suggest that students placed in a single-gender group are likely to have more active online discussions than students in mixed-gender groups. Participation levels of students in groups of 5 were not observed to be higher than participation levels of students in groups of 4. Additional findings of the study showed that critical thinking is facilitated with the use of discussion prompts. The study concluded that teacher presence in the discussion forum is critical to the success of the discussion. Recommendations for practice and future research are presented.
Livingstone, L.L. Student grouping for successful online asynchronous discussions in a middle school literacy program. Ph.D. thesis, Capella University.
Citation reproduced with permission of ProQuest LLC.
For copies of dissertations and theses: (800) 521-0600/(734) 761-4700 or https://dissexpress.umi.com