Student Moderators in Asynchronous Online Discussion: Scaffolding Their Questions
Abstract: Asynchronous computer-mediated conferencing (CMC) courses rely on sustained threaded discourse to encourage student learning. One successful approach for engaging students is through the use of peer moderators, whose goals are to focus and sustain the discussion, and synthesize and summarize shared accomplishments. Peer moderators typically begin by posing thought-provoking questions to their peers, and it is known that different types of questions are differentially effective for generating higher-order discussion. However, prior literature suggests that students use very few question types, and tend to use types that have been linked to low levels of learning. In this research, we scaffold the questioning process, and then investigate the use and impacts of question type on resultant higher-order thinking. We find that the scaffolding led to a rich variety of question types, and that the evidence suggests new research directions for both Application and Course Link questions.