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ERIC Number: ED494890
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Dec-5
Pages: 76
Abstractor: Author
Optimizing the Number of Students for an Effective Online Discussion Board Learning Experience
Reonieri, Dean C., Sr.
Online Submission
The purpose of this research was to determine if there is an opportunity for colleges and universities to improve the quality of knowledge constructed in online (asynchronous) discussion boards by optimizing the number of students in the discussion. 93 online graduate students and 36 online faculty were surveyed to gain the perspective from both students and faculty on following questions:What constitutes a small, medium, or large online class? Is knowledge constructed from online discussion boards? What activities contribute to learning from an online discussion board? What elements define the quality of learning from an online discussion board? Respondents were also surveyed on the consequences of an online discussion board size that is too few students or too many students based. Finally, based on the numerical ranges the respondents defined as small, medium, and large discussion board sizes, the respondents were asked to select the optimum number of students. Results: 80 percent of students and 83 percent of faculty selected a medium class size of 10 to 15 students as the optimum class size for an online discussion board. A gap was evident in the perceptions of students (45 percent strongly agree) and faculty (75 percent strongly agree) on the question "is knowledge constructed from an online discussion board?" The results include separate reports on the stack-ranked items that contribute to learning from an online discussion board from both students and faculty, as well as the stack-ranked items that contribute to quality of the discussion board. Recommendations:Online college educators should set the class size for discussion boards at 10 to 15 students. In the case of a large class size that is greater than 16 students, it would be best to split the class into groups. The activities which contribute to learning on an online discussion board are: Students researching answers for their initial posts, individual responses from the instructor, and a summary at the conclusion of the discussion topic. Elements which contribute to a quality discussion board are: Real-life experience shared by peers (students), thought-provoking responses from the instructor, real-life experience shared by the instructor, though-provoking responses from peers (students), and a variety of points-of-view in the initial postings. All data is contained within the thesis. Appended are: (1) Excel Tables; and (2) Survey Sections 7, Questions 11, 12, and 13 Open-Text Responses. (Contains 57 figures.) [M.S. Thesis, Thomas Edison State College.]
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Masters Theses; Numerical/Quantitative Data
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A