Does it matter if the teacher is there?: A teacher's contribution to emerging patterns of interactions in online classroom discussions
Jeong-bin Hannah Park, Diane L. Schallert, University of Texas, United States ; Anke J.Z. Sanders, Denver University, United States ; Kyle M. Williams, Eunjin Seo, University of Texas, United States ; Li-Tang Yu, Education Department, Taiwan ; Jane S. Vogler, Oklahoma State University, United States ; Kwangok Song, Arkansas State University, United States ; Zachary H. Williamson, Marissa C. Knox, University of Texas, United States
Computers & Education Volume 82, Number 1, ISSN 0360-1315 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd
Our purpose was to explore the role of a teacher in synchronous online discussions taking place in a graduate level course across a semester. We focused on identifying the roles a teacher played as well as on investigating the influence that her presence and discourse moves made on students' involvement in online discussion. Data came from 15 students enrolled in a graduate level seminar who, assigned to one of two discussion groups, discussed course topics weekly, with the teacher switching group every week. Data sources included 20 online discussion transcripts, weekly pre- and post-discussion surveys of students' engagement in online discussion, and final self-reflective essays in which students described their experiences of the different discussion modes of the class. Data analysis was inductive, interpretive, and qualitative, aimed at identifying the discourse moves made by participants in each online discussion. Also, descriptive statistics were used to calculate mean number of comments posted by students and mean ratings of student engagement immediately following online discussions. Results showed that the teacher's presence did influence the dynamic system making up the online discussion, yet her influence was more subtle than has traditionally been assumed. In many ways, the roles the teacher took up were similar to those students enacted as co-participants in the discussion, perhaps because students were modeling their teacher's discourse moves in this innovative classroom activity. This study highlights the shifting nature of teacher roles in online learning environments, with the teacher sharing a more symmetrical relationship with students.
Park, J.b.H., Schallert, D.L., Sanders, A.J.Z., Williams, K.M., Seo, E., Yu, L.T., Vogler, J.S., Song, K., Williamson, Z.H. & Knox, M.C. (2015). Does it matter if the teacher is there?: A teacher's contribution to emerging patterns of interactions in online classroom discussions. Computers & Education, 82(1), 315-328. Elsevier Ltd.