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Covert and Overt Instructor Guidance in Online Debates

, , , University of South Alabama, United States

EdMedia + Innovate Learning, in Toronto, Canada ISBN 978-1-880094-81-5 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC


The idea that online debates are beneficial and promote learning is not new. Yet, students do not actively participate or participate as well as anticipated. One factor affecting participation is instructor guidance. For this case study, two instructors taught sections of the same course content and requirements, but with different approaches for guiding students. One instructor did not participate in the discussions, or covert approach; the other one did participate, or overt approach. Both instructors interacted with students through other means. After the semester ended, we conducted content analyses on embedded statements in messages in three debates. The highest statement frequencies were in the first debate for both course sections. For the second, the overt approach section had higher frequencies than the covert section. These observations were reversed in the third. Substantive statements were prevalent, but varied within and across both sections. Non-substantive statements were also mixed. Both approaches seemed to promote student participation.


Davidson-Shivers, G.V., Guest, J.M. & Gray, W.D. (2010). Covert and Overt Instructor Guidance in Online Debates. In J. Herrington & C. Montgomerie (Eds.), Proceedings of ED-MEDIA 2010--World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications (pp. 2341-2350). Toronto, Canada: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved October 18, 2019 from .



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