Less May Be More: The Effect of Streamlining Instructions for Discussion Protocols in Asynchronous Discussions

ID: 49675 Type: Brief Paper
  1. Janet Zydney and Kerry Patton, University of Cincinnati, United States
  2. Aimee deNoyelles and Baiyun Chen, University of Central Florida, United States

Tuesday, November 15 1:50 PM-2:10 PM Location: Edison F View on map

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Abstract: This study used a quasi-experimental, comparative design to contrast basic versus detailed instructions for a discussion protocol on the level of cognitive presence exhibited in discussion posts. This study took place over two semesters in a large undergraduate business course with 400 to 600 students. Students were separated into discussion groups of approximately 10 students each. Quantitative and qualitative analyses revealed that the cognitive presence and substance of the posts were very similar between the two types of instruction provided. Giving brief instructions along with example posts that model what is expected may be sufficient in helping students understand what they need to do to effectively participate in discussions. This exploratory research may help educators better design discussion protocols that are easier to follow and require less instructor intervention.

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