Designing online tasks for effective discussions
Dr Hugh Starkey, School of Arts and Humanities, Institute of Education
Will Gibson, Institute of Education
Cristina Ros i Solé, University College London/School of Oriental and African Studies
Joseph Hopkins, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona
A literature review relating to the project has been published:
Interaction and critical inquiry in asynchronous computer-mediated conferencing: a research agenda [external link] (Joseph Hopkins; Will Gibson; Cristina Ros i. Sol ; Nicola Savvides; Hugh Starkey). Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning, Volume 23 (1), pages 29 – 42.
This project reviewed research on learner and tutor interaction in asynchronous computer-mediated conferences (ACMC) used in distance learning. It noted a general lack of evidence regarding the actual achievement of higher order critical inquiry and the social construction of knowledge in such conferences. We reviewed and analysed the relevant research literature currently available on the effects of social aspects, the tutor’s teaching and moderating strategies, and task type. We gave particular attention to the evidence for the tutor’s role in shaping the quality of online discourse.
We have provided recommendations for future research in each of these areas, suggesting a need for a focus on the role individual learners play in determining the outcome of online conferences. We have secured funding to undertake an empirical study of interactions and evidence of co-construction of higher order knowledge through ACMC in two courses provided by the University of London.