Sense of Discussion Thread Initiation in Different Class Sizes and Group Configurations in Online Graduate Courses
Mingzhu Qiu, CTL, OISE/UT, Canada
Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference, in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA ISBN 978-1-880094-64-8 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Chesapeake, VA
This study is to explore instructors' and students' sense of discussion thread initiation in different sizes of classes and group configurations by adopting grounded theory method and analyzing 22 interviews. The research results uncovered that different classes and group configurations did affect participants' sense of discussion thread initiation and development. In large whole class discussions, most students felt too many threads branching out and got lost in following interesting topics, while in small whole class discussions, students felt less encouraged by the small number of threads and limited topics. Instructors divided large whole classes into subgroup discussions to achieve deeper and focused discussions. Detailed data analysis and findings of this study are presented in this article. This study also intends to inform online course instructors and designers to pay attention to grouping strategies and discussion thread development in online graduate-level course designing.
Qiu, M. (2008). Sense of Discussion Thread Initiation in Different Class Sizes and Group Configurations in Online Graduate Courses. In K. McFerrin, R. Weber, R. Carlsen & D. Willis (Eds.), Proceedings of SITE 2008--Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference (pp. 3133-3139). Las Vegas, Nevada, USA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).