On-campus students' learning in asynchronous environments

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Permanent URL for this page: http://hdl.voced.edu.au/10707/239370.


Author: Gerbic, Philippa

Abstract:

Asynchronous online discussions have the potential to improve learning in universities. This thesis reports an investigation into the ways in which undergraduates learned in online discussions when they were included within their face-to-face courses. Taking a student perspective, four case studies describe and explain the approaches to learning that were used by business undergraduates in online discussions, and examine the influence of the computer-mediated conferencing (CMC) medium and curriculum design on student learning. The investigation took a qualitative approach where case studies were developed from multiple data sources. In each of the cases, a description of the setting of the online discussions introduced the learning environment. Further details of student learning behaviours in the online discussions were provided by an analysis of the systems data and a content analysis of the online discussion transcripts. In depth interpretation of interview data added student perspectives on the impact of CMC characteristics, the curriculum or learning design and the relationship between the online discussions and face-to-face classes. A comparative cross case analysis of the findings of the four cases identified and discussed general themes and broad principles arising from the cases. The campus-based students acknowledged that online discussions helped them to learn and their message postings evidenced deep approaches to learning. The students recognised the value for learning of the text based nature of the CMC environment but peer interaction was more difficult to achieve. Asynchronicity created time flexibility and time for reflection but it also presented time management problems for many undergraduates. Assessment was the most influential aspect of the curriculum design. The cases also identified the importance of a dialogical activity and the absence of the teacher from the online discussions was not problematic. The research identified new perspectives on the relationship between online discussions and face-to-face classes. Students regarded these two media as complementary rather than oppositional and affirmed the importance of pedagogic connections between them. A teaching and learning framework for online discussions was developed from these perspectives. The significance of this study lies in improved knowledge of student learning processes in online discussions in blended learning environments. The cases indicated the potential value of the CMC environment for constructivist philosophies and affirm the significant role of curriculum design with new technologies. Findings relating to the complementary nature of online and face-to-face discussions provided a platform for building a teaching and learning framework for blended environments which can be used to inform and improve pedagogical design, teacher expertise and student learning outcomes in asynchronous online discussions.

Published abstract.

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Asynchronous online discussions have the potential to improve learning in universities. This thesis reports an investigation into the ways in which undergraduates learned in online discussions when they were included within their face-to-face courses. Taking a student perspective, four case studies describe and explain the approaches to learning that were used by business undergraduates in online discussions, and examine the influence of the computer-mediated conferencing (CMC) medium and curriculum design on student learning. The investigation took a qualitative approach where case ...  [+] Show more

Subjects: Students; Teaching and learning; Technology; Evaluation; Research

Keywords: Online learning; Learning method; E-learning; Educational technology; Program evaluation; Case study; Flexible delivery

Geographic subjects: New Zealand; Oceania

Published: [Burwood, Victoria]: Deakin University, 2006

Physical description: [275] p.

Access item:
http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30023288

Notes:
On cover: Submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Deakin University December 2006

Resource type: Thesis

Call Number:
TD/TNC 111.195



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