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Online Debates: Does Student Participation Diminish over Time?

, University of South Alabama, United States ; , Brock University, Canada

EdMedia + Innovate Learning, in Vancouver, Canada ISBN 978-1-880094-62-4 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC


This study examined the types of messages posted by graduate students (n= 11) in four online debates in a semester course. Researchers coded the debates to determine whether student participation was substantive (directly related to the topic) or nonsubstantive discourse. Threaded discussion messages were also coded by types of argumentation (i.e., argument, evidence, critiques, etc.). The debates were examined as to whether number of postings would decline as the semester progressed and whether argumentation would be maintained. Results indicate that student discussions were substantive in nature for each debate. Additionally, the basic elements of argumentation were found for-the-most-part in each debate. Although the number of postings per debate did diminish over time, argumentation did not. Less participation may be due to several factors. The presentation will discuss the study's results in more detail, factors that may influence participation in online debates, and implications for future research.


Davidson-Shivers, G. & Paquette-Frenette, D. (2007). Online Debates: Does Student Participation Diminish over Time?. In C. Montgomerie & J. Seale (Eds.), Proceedings of ED-MEDIA 2007--World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications (pp. 647-652). Vancouver, Canada: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved March 22, 2019 from .


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Cited By

  1. Student Participation in Online Debates Within and Across Course Offerings

    Gayle V. Davidson-Shivers, University of South Alabama, United States; Tuangrat Sriwongkol, King Mongkut's Institute of Technology North Bangkok, Thailand; Crystal A. Thomas & Stephanie McLendon, University of South Alabama, United States

    EdMedia + Innovate Learning 2008 (Jun 30, 2008) pp. 3687–3694

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