Increase Engaged Student Learning Using Google Docs as a Discussion Platform
Keywords:Student engagement, online discussion, online learning environment, discussion board, Student Participation
Online discussion board activities have traditionally been a primary method of providing student-to-student interaction, especially in asynchronous online classes. This study examines the impact of an alternate online discussion tool on student participation in online discussion assignments. Three identical discussion assignments were examined over the course of two semesters. The first semester utilized the traditional Learning Management System (LMS) threaded discussion board. The second semester incorporated Google Docs as the discussion platform. Overall, students using Google Docs made 68 percent more posts per student than students using the traditional LMS discussion board. Students using Google Docs also demonstrated more engagement by sharing professional experiences and teaching strategies more often than those students using the traditional LMS discussion board. While the data are encouraging, limitations of this study encourage additional research in the areas of discussion platform, discussion group size, and group assignment methods.
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