Thursday, January 15, 2009

Quick analysis of "Does the discussion help? The impact of a ..."

"Does the discussion help? The impact of a formally
assessed online discussion on final student results"

Authors: Stuart Palmer, Dale Holt and Sharyn Bray

Design: Longitudinal

Type of Research: Quantitative/Qualitative hybrid

Problem: Does participation in formally assessed online discussions enhance student learning?

Purpose; To “explore the forms of student engagement with online discussion, the impact of participation on the students’ final unit result, whether passive participation/lurking had any benefit, and whether any impact/benefit was separable from the students’ prior general academic performance in their studies.”

Does the use of discussion boards improve student performance?
Does passive reading of such posts improve results?
What are the “salient factors in online interaction that might enhance learning”? Does it make a difference if the interaction is optional or mandated?

Hypotheses: Students need to perceive the benefits of participating in the system as outweighing the cost of effort. There may be benefits in using the system despite motivating factors if this is the case.


  1. Palmer, S., Holt, D., & Bray, S. (2008). Does the discussion help? the impact of a formally assessed online discussion on final student results. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39(5), 847-858. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2007.00780.x

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