Online Discussions: The Effect of Having Two Deadlines
Wednesday, March 9 2:00-2:30 PM Location: Oaklands
Presider: Ronald McBride, Northwestern State University of Louisiana, Retired, Current Status: Adjunct, United States
Abstract: Discussion forums are the heart of asynchronous online courses; many factors go into their design. After witnessing students delay in making required discussion board posts until just before the deadline, the authors postulated that a two-deadline solution, one in which initial responses were due days before peer comments, would serve to better incite dialogue among the students. The discussion forums of 5 groups, 3 with one-deadline and 2 with two-deadlines, were analyzed quantitatively; number of posts, response level, number of days before the deadline, and number of words were used as metrics. Findings revealed statistically significant differences between the one- and two-deadline groups in regards to average number of student posts and average number of posts at Response Level 2. Additionally, factors such as uneven teaching presence and varied instructor strategies might have impacted the outcome. Better facilitation of conversations in online courses belies trivial solutions.