Education and Information Technologies

, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 1483–1507 | Cite as

Rethinking online discourse: Improving learning through discussions in the online classroom

  • Cass M. Johnson


As colleges continue to expand online offerings, student participation within courses should be assessed to ensure that teachers can best implement effective, responsible lesson plans. This study examined discourse in an online classroom in order to gauge student participation by observing student-to-student and student-to-instructor exchanges within the discussion board. Classroom discourse was analyzed using Stahl’s computer supported collaborative learning methodology. Data was collected to assess development of classroom dialogue through group collaboration, and to determine whether participants were interpreting previous posts and contributing to the development of the discussion topic. This study shows that students within the online classroom were able to construct deeper meanings in classroom dialogues through thoughtful and personal contributions, thereby reaching new understandings through collaborative discussion. This study contends that through insightful planning and guided responses, instructors can manage online classroom discussions to better direct student communications in order to improve collaborative learning and knowledge construction.


CSCL Collaborative Knowledge construction Socio-cognitive Dialogue Online discourse 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human ServicesUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA

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