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Possible Factors Influencing Asian Students' Degree of Participation in Peer-Facilitated Online Discussion Forums: A Case Study
ARTICLE

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Asia Pacific Journal of Education Volume 30, Number 1, ISSN 0218-8791

Abstract

This study investigated possible factors that might influence the degree of student participation in asynchronous online discussion forums. Degree of participation refers to the number of messages posted by the students. Data were collected from 41 forums, students' reflection logs, and students' interviews. Of these 41 forums, the top third forums (n = 14) in terms of the highest frequency of participant postings were identified. Fourteen less frequent forums were "randomly" chosen from the remaining forums. We also assessed the quality of the discussions found in both the more frequent and less frequent groups by examining the levels of knowledge construction exhibited in the online postings. We found that that the quality of contributions in the more frequent group was greater than those found in the less frequent group in terms of higher knowledge construction levels. Quantitative analyses showed that the duration of the discussion could not account for the difference between the two groups. Instead, the more and less frequent forums differed in terms of group size, as well as the frequency of two habits of mind displayed by the student facilitators: (a) is aware of own thinking, and (b) is accurate and seeks accuracy. Qualitative analyses of the reflection logs and interviews suggested several other important factors that could also influence students' decision to participate: (a) familiarity with the facilitator, (b) mutual obligation to help each other, (c) knowledge about the topic, and (d) availability of time. Implications of the findings and suggestions for future research are provided. (Contains 2 tables.)

Citation

Hew, K.F. & Cheung, W.S. (2010). Possible Factors Influencing Asian Students' Degree of Participation in Peer-Facilitated Online Discussion Forums: A Case Study. Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 30(1), 85-104. Retrieved October 14, 2019 from .

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