Determining the differences between online and face-to-face student–group interactions in a blended learning course
Internet and Higher Education Volume 39, Number 1, ISSN 1096-7516 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd
Blended learning (B-learning) is a common practice in higher education, and various principles, characteristics, models, and strategies have been widely studied to improve B-learning performance. However, crucial differences in student–group interactions have not been explored between online and face-to-face sessions, the two key components of B-learning. This study applied social network analysis and thematic analysis to investigate the nature and differences of group interactions in these learning components of a B-learning course. A total of 53 respondents participated in this study and Baidu Post Bar was used as a tool to facilitate group interactions. A total of 604 dialogues comprising 5090 posts were analyzed to identify the differences in group characteristics and interactions. A strong “group-controlling” pattern was found in the online learning component, whereas an “individual-controlling” pattern was found in the face-to-face mode. The depth of the interactions among students increased from the beginning to the middle of the class and reached a relatively stable state from the middle to the end of the class. The interaction in the classroom was more in-depth than that in the online learning mode. The dialogue clusters of students were stronger when the interactions focused on their real lives and were related to the subject of the course. Through the findings of this study, course designers and instructors of B-learning can gain better understanding of these interactions and further enhance student engagement and learning.
Shu, H. & Gu, X. (2018). Determining the differences between online and face-to-face student–group interactions in a blended learning course. Internet and Higher Education, 39(1), 13-21. Elsevier Ltd.